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  In Memoriam



Joseph A. Mullaney III '49
March 8, 2000

Joseph A. Mullaney III '49Joe Mullaney, former coach of the Providence (R.I.) College Friars and the Los Angeles Lakers, died of cancer on March 8 at his home in North Providence, R.I. He was 75.

Mr. Mullaney coached basketball at Providence College for 18 years, from 1955 until 1969 and, again, from 1981 to 1985. Leading the Friars to the NIT championships in 1961 and 1963, he compiled a record of 319 wins and 164 losses. Beginning in 1969, Mr. Mullaney coached the Lakers for two seasons, finishing with a 94-win and 70-loss record in the regular season and a 16-win, 14-loss record in the playoffs. He also coached Kentucky, Utah, Memphis and Baltimore in the American Basketball Association. Prior to his return to Providence College in 1981, he coached at Brown University for three years. Mr. Mullaney played basketball at Holy Cross for four years and was a member of the 1947 team that won the NCAA championship. Following graduation, he played briefly for the Boston Celtics; he coached at Norwich University, Northfield, Vt., for one year before beginning his career at Providence College. 

Gregg Burke '80, who served as the sports information director at Providence College during Mr. Mullaney's coaching years, recalled his inimitable style and deep affection for Holy Cross: "He wore his genius as comfortably as he wore his whistle. There was no pretense, no ego. His incredible love for his days at Holy Cross had more to do with friendship than championship. His unmatched coaching achievement had more to do with teaching than winning." Listening to Joe's stories about the 1947 team as he made preparations for the 50th anniversary celebration, Gregg felt that his primary concern was not the recognition, but the opportunity to have the players be together again. "For a man who coached legends (Lennie Wilkens, John Thompson, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West), his Holy Cross teammates were 'his guys.' His passing is another thread lost in a proud tradition at Holy Cross."

Mr. Mullaney was inducted into the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.
He is survived by his wife, Jane; four sons; and a daughter.

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