March 8, 2000
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
career at Providence College.
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."
Mullaney was inducted into the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972.
is survived by his wife, Jane; four sons; and a daughter.