Tom Gola

Thomas Joseph Gola (January 13, 1933 – January 26, 2014) was an American basketball player and politician. He is widely considered one of the greatest NCAA basketball players of all-time. Gola was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976.

Tom Gola
Tom Gola 1953
Gola in 1953
Personal information
BornJanuary 13, 1933
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 26, 2014 (aged 81)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High schoolLa Salle (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
CollegeLa Salle (1951–1955)
NBA draft1955 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors
Playing career1955–1966
PositionSmall forward / Shooting guard
Number15, 6
Career history
1955–1956,
19571962
Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors
19621966New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points7,871 (11.3 ppg)
Rebounds5,417 (7.8 rpg)
Assists2,962 (4.2 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Tom Gola
Philadelphia City Controller
In office
January 5, 1970 – January 7, 1974
Preceded byAlexander Hemphill
Succeeded byWilliam Klenk
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 170th district
In office
January 7, 1969 – January 5, 1970
Preceded byDistrict Created
Succeeded byAlvin Katz
Personal details
Political partyRepublican

Early life

Gola was the third of seven children born to Ike and Helen Gola. Gola's father was a Philadelphia policeman of Polish descent who had changed the family's surname from "Galinsky".[1] Gola was praised as a great all-around player as a high school student at La Salle College High School, where he led the Explorers to a Philadelphia Catholic League Championship. He entered La Salle a year after another Philadelphia basketball Hall of Famer, Paul Arizin, graduated from Villanova.

College career (1951-1955)

Gola was one of the most talented collegiate athletes in Philadelphia sports history. He came to national attention while playing for the hometown La Salle University Explorers men's basketball team.

Gola starred as a college freshman and led La Salle to the 1952 NIT championship.[2] Gola paced the Explorers to the NCAA basketball championship in 1954 and was named Tournament MVP. That same season he was selected as National Player of the Year. As a senior, Gola helped La Salle finish as the runner-up in the 1955 NCAA Tournament. At 6'6" (198 cm), Gola was clearly a forward who could shoot/score, rebound and defend, but he also had the ballhandling (dribbling, passing) skills of a guard, and with his shooting range and All-Pro defensive skills, could play just as well in the backcourt.

He averaged 20.9 points and 19.0 rebounds during 115 games and remains the NCAA All time rebounding leader with 2,201 career rebounds.

He was inducted into the La Salle Hall of Athletes in 1961 and the Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1977, Tom Gola was inducted into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.[3] Gola was listed on "ESPN's Countdown to the Greatest" College basketball players as #17.

NBA career (1955-1966)

After a phenomenal college career, Gola turned pro with the Philadelphia Warriors as a territorial draft pick. He teamed with All-Pros Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston to lead the Warriors to an NBA championship in 1956. He gained praise for concentrating on defense, passing and rebounding and allowing the other two to be the chief scorers during these years.

In 1959, Johnston temporarily retired due to a knee injury and the Warriors added seven-foot superstar Wilt Chamberlain. Again sacrificing himself for his team, Gola helped the Warriors consistently reach the NBA Playoffs, but they could not beat the star-studded Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Division during his seasons in the early 1960s even with Chamberlain. During the 1959–60 season, Gola became the first Warrior to have three straight games with a triple-double (the only other being Draymond Green, 2016).

Gola played with the New York Knicks from 1962 to 1966. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 26, 1976.

Coaching career (1968-1970)

In 1968, Gola returned to his alma mater as head coach, leading the Explorers to a 37-13 record during his two-year stay. He was named Coach of the Year by Philadelphia and New York journalists. He led the Explorers to a 23-1 record during the 1968–69 season, but La Salle had been barred from the NCAA Tournament before the season because an alumnus had offered some players "no-show" jobs. The school's Tom Gola Arena was named after him.

Political career

In 1968, Gola was elected to the Pennsylvania State House, as a Republican, representing the Northeast Philadelphia-based 170th District. A change to the State Constitution made earlier that year had reorganized State House seats into legislative districts, replacing the old system of allotting seats on an at-large, county-wide basis. This made Gola the first person to represent the newly created district. Ultimately, Gola would not finish-out his first term in the House, opting instead to seek the office of Philadelphia City Controller in 1969. He scored an 80,000 vote victory over Democrat Charles Peruto in the general election, and took office the following January.

Gola was defeated, however, in his bid for a second term in 1973 by Democrat William Klenk. His defeat was part of a broader setback for Republicans in the city that year, as Arlen Specter lost his bid for a third term as District Attorney.[4] Gola made his final attempt at elected office in 1983, when he sought the office of Mayor. He came in last in the three-man field Republican primary, behind Congressman Charlie Dougherty and the winner, John Egan, who went on to lose the fall general election to Wilson Goode.[5]

Personal

Gola was married to Caroline Norris in June 1955, and they had one son Thomas Christopher.

Gola died on January 26, 2014, thirteen days after his 81st birthday, in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania.[1] A former US Army specialist, he was buried at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.[6]

LaDefend
Tom Gola Arena at La Salle University. Constructed in 1998.

College basketball achievements

  • All-District player (four times, 1952–55)
  • All-State player (four times, 1952–55)
  • All-America selection (four times, 1952–55)
  • Consensus All-American (three times, 1953–55)
  • NIT Championship, NIT Co-MVP (1952)
  • First alternate to US Olympic Basketball Team (1952)
  • NCAA Championship, NCAA Tournament MVP (1954)
  • College Basketball Player of the Year (1954)
  • NCAA all-time rebounding leader (2,201)
  • 2,462 points
  • 102-19 (.843) won-lost record
  • #15 retired by La Salle
  • Inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016

Pro basketball achievements

  • NBA championship (1956)
  • All-NBA second team (1958)
  • 5-time NBA all-star (1960–1964)
  • One of only two players to win NCAA, NIT & NBA championships
  • Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame
  • Inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (1976)

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes season in which Gola won an NBA championship

Regular season

Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
1955–56 Philadelphia 68 34.5 .412 .733 9.1 5.9 10.8
1957–58 Philadelphia 59 36.0 .415 .746 10.8 5.5 13.8
1958–59 Philadelphia 64 36.5 .401 .787 11.1 4.2 14.1
1959–60 Philadelphia 75 38.3 .433 .794 10.4 5.5 15.0
1960–61 Philadelphia 74 36.6 .447 .747 9.4 3.9 14.2
1961–62 Philadelphia 60 41.0 .421 .765 9.8 4.9 13.7
1962–63 Philadelphia 21 39.1 .457 .758 7.0 3.5 13.0
1962–63 New York 52 35.5 .460 .784 7.1 4.3 12.0
1963–64 New York 74 29.1 .429 .726 6.3 3.5 9.1
1964–65 New York 77 22.4 .448 .739 4.1 2.9 7.0
1965–66 New York 74 15.2 .450 .781 3.9 2.6 4.4
Career 698 32.3 .431 .760 8.0 4.2 11.3
All-Star 4 17.5 .414 .556 2.8 1.8 7.3

Playoffs

Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
1956 Philadelphia 10 36.0 .355 .783 10.1 5.8 12.3
1958 Philadelphia 8 40.9 .330 .745 10.5 4.0 13.8
1960 Philadelphia 9 37.8 .412 .806 10.6 5.6 12.6
1961 Philadelphia 3 42.3 .206 .750 12.3 5.0 9.7
1962 Philadelphia 9 35.1 .271 .760 8.2 2.7 6.3
All-Star 39 17.5 .336 .771 10.0 4.6 11.1

College Coaching Record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
La Salle Explorers (Middle Atlantic Conferences) (1968–1970)
1968–69 La Salle 23-1 5-0 1st
1969–70 La Salle 14-12 3-2 2nd
La Salle: 37–13 (.740) 8–2 (.800)

‡ Ineligible for any postseason tournaments

Total: 37–13 (.740)

      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

References

  1. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Frank; Juliano, Joe (January 26, 2014). "Philadelphia basketball great Tom Gola dies". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  2. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (January 27, 2014), "Tom Gola, a Philadelphia Hero, Dies at 81", The New York Times
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ King, Wayne (November 8, 1973). "Democratic Victories in Philadelphia Rebuff to Rizzo, Who Backed G.O.P." The New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  5. ^ "Gola, Thomas J." Our Campaigns. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  6. ^ Tom Gola at Find a Grave

External links

1952 National Invitation Tournament

The 1952 National Invitation Tournament was the 1952 edition of the annual NCAA college basketball competition. The 1952 tournament was won by La Salle University. Tom Gola and Norm Grekin were co-MVPs.

1953 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans

The consensus 1953 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of six major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, Look Magazine, The United Press International, the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), Collier's Magazine and the International News Service.

1954 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans

The consensus 1954 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of six major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, Look Magazine, The United Press International, the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), Collier's Magazine and the International News Service.

1955 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans

The consensus 1955 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of six major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, Look Magazine, The United Press International, the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), Collier's Magazine and the International News Service.

2011–12 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2011–12 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2011–12 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by eighth year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena and are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 21–13, 9–7 in A-10 to finish in a four-way tie for fifth place. They lost in the quarterfinals of the A-10 Basketball Tournament to Saint Louis. They were invited to the 2012 National Invitation Tournament where they lost in the first round to Minnesota.

2012–13 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2012–13 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2012–13 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by ninth year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena and were members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 24–10, 11–5 in A-10 play to finish in a three way tie for third place. They lost in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament to Butler. They received an at-large bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, their first NCAA bid in 21 years. They defeated Boise State in the First Four, Kansas State in the Round of 64, and Ole Miss in the Round of 32 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen where they lost to Wichita State.

2013–14 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2013–14 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2013–14 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by tenth year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena and were members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 15–16, 7–9 in A-10 play to finish in eighth place. They lost in the second round of the A-10 Tournament to St. Bonaventure.

2014–15 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2014–15 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2014–15 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by eleventh year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena and were members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 17–16, 8–10 in A-10 play to finish in ninth place. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the A-10 Tournament where they lost to Davidson.

2015–16 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2015–16 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2015–16 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by 12th year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena and were members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 9–22, 4–14 in A-10 play to finish in last place. They defeated Duquesne in the first round of the A-10 Tournament to advance to the second round where they lost to Davidson.

2015–16 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team

The 2015–16 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team will represent La Salle University during the 2015–16 college basketball season. The Explorers, led by sixth year head coach Jeff Williams. The Explorers are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference and play their home games at the Tom Gola Arena. They finished the season 5–25, 2–14 in A-10 play to finish in last place. They lost in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Women's Tournament to UMass.

2016–17 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2016–17 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2016–17 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by 13th-year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 15–15, 9–9 in A-10 play to finish in a tie for seventh place. As the No. 8 seed in the A-10 Tournament, they lost to Davidson in the first round.

2016–17 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team

The 2016–17 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2016–17 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Explorers, led by sixth year head coach Jeff Williams, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena and are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 17–13, 9–7 in A-10 play to finish in a tie for sixth place. They advanced to the quarterfinals of the A-10 Women's Tournament where they lost to Duquesne.

2017–18 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2017–18 La Salle Explorers basketball team represented La Salle University during the 2017–18 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by 14th-year head coach John Giannini, played their home games at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 13–19, 7–11 in A-10 play to finish in a three-way tie for 10th place. As the No. 12 seed in the A-10 Tournament, they lost in the first round to Massachusetts.On March 23, 2018, head coach John Giannini and the school mutually agreed to part ways after 14 seasons. Giannini left with a 212–226 record at La Salle. On April 8, the school hired Villanova assistant Ashley Howard as head coach.

2017–18 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team

The 2017–18 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team will represent La Salle University during the 2017–18 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Explorers, led by eighth year head coach Jeff Williams, play their home games at Tom Gola Arena and were members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 8–22, 3–13 in A-10 play to finish in a tie for eleventh place. They lost in the first round of the A-10 Women's Tournament to George Washington.

On March 2, Jeff Williams's contract was not renewed. He finished at La Salle with an 8-year record of 92–149.

2018–19 La Salle Explorers men's basketball team

The 2018–19 La Salle Explorers basketball team represents La Salle University during the 2018–19 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. The Explorers, led by first-year head coach Ashley Howard, play their home games at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

2018–19 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team

The 2018–19 La Salle Explorers women's basketball team will represent La Salle University during the 2018–19 NCAA Division I women's basketball season. The Explorers, led by first year head coach Mountain MacGillivray, play their home games at Tom Gola Arena and were members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They finished the season 6–25, 3–13 in A-10 to finish in a tie for last place. They lost in the first round of the A-10 Women's Tournament to Dayton.

La Salle Explorers

The La Salle Explorers are the varsity sports teams from La Salle University in Philadelphia. The Explorers compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The men's and women's basketball teams are also participate in the Philadelphia Big 5. On June 3rd, 2019, Brian Baptiste was named Director of Athletics and Recreation effective August 1, 2019. Baptiste currently serves as Deputy AD for Capital Projects and Operations at Northwestern University.

La Salle Explorers men's basketball

The La Salle Explorers men's basketball program represents La Salle University in college basketball.

Tom Gola Arena

Tom Gola Arena, The Tom, The Gola, is a 3,400-seat multi-purpose arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania situated inside the Trumark Financial Center. It is home to the La Salle University Explorers basketball and volleyball teams. It is named after Tom Gola, a Philadelphia basketball player and coach who is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The building was opened in February 1998. La Salle's Explorers had not played basketball on campus since leaving Wister Hall in 1955, the season after the 1954 NCAA Championship. The Explorers played at the Palestra from 1955 to 1989, the Philadelphia Civic Center from 1989 to 1996, and the First Union Spectrum from 1996 until the arena opened in 1998.

In Philadelphia's 2016 Summer Olympics bid, the arena was planned to host fencing.

Political offices
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
District Created
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 170th District
1969–1970
Succeeded by
Alvin Katz
Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Hemphill
Philadelphia City Controller
1970–1974
Succeeded by
William Klenk

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.