Nat Holman
Nat Holman 1933 Goudey Sport Kings card
Biographical details
Born(1896-10-19)October 19, 1896
New York City, U.S.
DiedFebruary 12, 1995(1995-02-12) (aged 98)
Bronx, New York, U.S.
Alma materNew York University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Head coaching record
Tournaments4–2 (NCAA Division I)
6–3 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA (1950)
NIT (1950)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1964 (profile)

Nat Holman (born Nathan Helmanowich; October 19, 1896 – February 12, 1995) was an American professional basketball player and college coach. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is the only coach to lead his team to NCAA and National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championships in the same season.

Early life

Holman was born Nathan Helmanowich on the Lower East Side in New York City, to Russian immigrant parents, and was Jewish.[1][2][3][4] He attended P.S. 62, and was then a star in basketball, soccer, and football at the High School of Commerce, graduated from the Savage School for Physical Education, and earned a master's degree from New York University.[5][2] Known for his exceptional ball-handling and his accurate shooting, Holman was a star player for the NYU Violets men's basketball team.

Professional career

Holman was also an important player for the Original Celtics, which were no relation to the Boston Celtics.[6] Also a gifted passer and excellent floor leader, Holman was a prototype of later playmakers.

Coaching career

Although he played pro basketball until 1930, he took over the head coaching position at the City College of New York in 1920. Known as "Mr. Basketball," Holman guided CCNY to the so-called grand slam of college basketball, winning both the NCAA and NIT titles in 1950, a feat that has never been achieved before or since (and is no longer possible as the tournaments now take place concurrently).

In 1951, Holman's CCNY team became involved in a national point-shaving scandal that involved seven different schools. While several CCNY players, including Ed Warner and Ed Roman were arrested, the investigation cleared Holman of any wrongdoing.

Main article: CCNY point-shaving scandal

The scandal eventually led CCNY to de-emphasize athletics (CCNY eventually dropped down to the NCAA Division III in the 1963–64 season) and suspend Holman after the 1951–52 season. He returned for brief stints in 1954–56 and 1958–59, retiring for good in 1959. Holman compiled an overall record of 421–190 in 37 seasons at CCNY.

While untainted by any scandal, Holman was described by author Matthew Goodman as "arrogant and aloof...who somehow developed a British accent" despite his impoverished Lower East Side roots.[7]

Holman also founded Camp Scatico in 1921 and ran the camp until he sold it to his niece and her husband in 1964.

Holman wrote two books on basketball technique entitled Scientific Basketball (1922) and Winning Basketball (1932), and his CCNY Beaver teams were lauded as "basketball's version of bebop, like a five-man jazz combo, with each player improvising off a few basic patterns, together creating something fast and complex and unpredictable.' "[7]

In his later years, he lived and died at the Hebrew Home for the Aged in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the New York Basketball Hall of Fame, and the CCNY Hall of Fame.[8][9][10] In 1977, he had also been honored when CCNY re-named a 3500-seat campus arena for him as the Nat Holman Gymnasium.[11] [12]

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
CCNY Beavers (Independent) (1919–1933)
1919–20 CCNY 13–3
1920–21 CCNY 11–4
1921–22 CCNY 10–2
1922–23 CCNY 12–1
1923–24 CCNY 12–1
1924–25 CCNY 12–2
1925–26 CCNY 9–5
1926–27 CCNY 9–3
1927–28 CCNY 11–4
1928–29 CCNY 9–5
1929–30 CCNY 11–3
1930–31 CCNY 12–4
1931–32 CCNY 16–1
1932–33 CCNY 13–1
CCNY Beavers (Metropolitan New York Conference) (1933–1934)
1933–34 CCNY 14–1 4–1 3rd
CCNY Beavers (Independent) (1934–1935)
1934–35 CCNY 10–6
CCNY Beavers (Metropolitan New York Conference) (1935–1939)
1935–36 CCNY 10–4 3–3 5th
1936–37 CCNY 10–6 3–3 6th
1937–38 CCNY 14–3 4–2 T–3rd
1938–39 CCNY 11–6 11–6 6th
CCNY Beavers (Independent) (1939–1942)
1939–40 CCNY 8–8
1940–41 CCNY 17–5 NIT Third Place
1941–42 CCNY 16–3 NIT quarterfinal
CCNY Beavers (Metropolitan New York Conference) (1942–1943)
1942–43 CCNY 8–10 2–5 6th
CCNY Beavers (Independent) (1943–1945)
1943–44 CCNY 6–11
1944–45 CCNY 12–4
CCNY Beavers (Metropolitan New York Conference) (1945–1952)
1945–46 CCNY 14–4 4–1 3rd
1946–47 CCNY 17–6 4–1 2nd NCAA Final Four
1947–48 CCNY 18–3 4–1 2nd
1948–49 CCNY 17–8 3–2 T–3rd NIT quarterfinal
1949–50 CCNY 24–5 6–0 1st NCAA Champion, NIT Champion
1950–51 CCNY 12–7 2–2 5th
1951–52 CCNY 8–11 1–5 6th
CCNY Beavers (Independent) (1954–1956)
1954–55 CCNY
1955–56 CCNY
CCNY Beavers (Independent) (1958–1959)
1958–59 CCNY
CCNY: 405–150 (.730) 51–32 (.614)
Total: 405–150 (.730)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also


  1. ^ BASKETBALL; Nat Holman Finds Life Still Bears His Name – The New York Times
  2. ^ a b Holman, Nat: Jews In Sports
  3. ^
  4. ^ Figone, Albert (2012). Cheating the Spread: Gamblers, Point Shavers, and Game Fixers in College Football and Basketball. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252037283., pg. 49
  5. ^ Nat Holman Is Dead at 98; Led C.C.N.Y. Champions – The New York Times
  6. ^ Peterson, Robert W. (2002). "The Rise of the Original Celtics". Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 69–79. ISBN 0-8032-8772-0.
  7. ^ a b Macur, Juliet (December 8, 2019). "Sports". No. Book Review. The New York Times Company.
  8. ^ The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame :: Nat Holman
  9. ^ CCNY Athletics – Hall of Fame
  10. ^ virtual-hall-of-fame
  11. ^ "Nat Holman, basketball innovator". The Philadelphia Inquirer. February 12, 1995.
  12. ^ Katz, Michael (November 30, 1977). "Roses in November for Holman..." The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2024.