Phelan Ending His 'Magnificent Run'

Times Staff Writer

If anyone deserves a break from his job, it's Jim Phelan.

He has coached a record 1,340 college basketball games in a career that spans 49 seasons and 10 U.S. presidents.

In a few weeks, he'll coach his last game.

"I knew it had to end sometime," he said.

Phelan, who has 824 victories since becoming coach at Mount St. Mary's of Emmitsburg, Md. in 1954, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season.

Although the Mountaineers (5-8) were unable to give Phelan another victory Saturday, losing to Long Island, 82-69, the coach known for his trademark bow ties continues working toward his final goal -- winning the Northeast Conference title.

Phelan, 73, battled prostate cancer in 2000, but he said his decision to retire was not based on health concerns. He said he was tired of year-round recruiting, roads trips and spending too much time away from home.

"What used to be your off-season is no longer your off-season," Phelan said. "If you don't do it, you feel like you're not doing your job. That was the hardest part of the job -- the off-season."

In March, his focus will switch from basketball to honing his golf game.

"I'm looking forward to sleeping in, not worrying about recruiting, not worrying about grades, and spending more time with the grandchildren," he said.

Phelan's 824 victories rank first among active coaches and fourth on the all-time all-division list behind Dean Smith (879), Adolph Rupp (876) and Clarence "Big House" Gaines (828). Phelan will probably pass Gaines next month. Georgia State's Lefty Driesell, seventh all-time at 786, retired during the season.

Under Phelan, Mount St. Mary's reached an NCAA tournament 16 times, including five Division II Final Four appearances. He guided the Mountaineers to the 1962 College Division title and into the Division I tournament in 1995 and 1999.

Many of Phelan's former players remain close to the coach, and several attended his news conference Thursday.

"What makes Coach special is what he does for players after they leave," said Jack Sullivan, who played on Phelan's first Mount St. Mary's team. "Even though we can't score points for him anymore, he's always there for you. I still call him for advice."

Phelan's most prominent former player is probably Fred Carter, who was the first African American player at Mount St. Mary's. Carter played in the NBA and now is a television basketball analyst.

"Coach had an impact on me as a player and a person," Carter said. "He's touched and affected hundreds of us."

The feeling has been mutual. "I've been blessed with great players, great people over 49 years," Phelan said. "It's been a magnificent run."

End of the Line

Darnell Archey of Butler missed his first free throw since the 2000-2001 season Saturday, ending his NCAA Division I-record streak at 85.

"Once I missed, it kind of hurt," he said. "I wanted to get to 100."

The miss came with 3:42 left to play in Butler's 64-60 victory over Youngstown State at Indianapolis.

Until then, Archey had made every free throw since Feb. 8, 2001, a span of 56 games.

Archey, a senior guard, made his first 44 free throws this season, his first as a starter.

After the game, at the urging of teammate Joel Cornette, Archey came back on the court and made a ceremonial free throw as players from both teams applauded and the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd of 7,268 chanted, "Ar-chey, Ar-chey."

"I appreciated that," he said. "I'm an emotional guy and it kind of helped me through that missed shot."

Caught in the Dark

Seton Hall overcame a power failure and an early deficit to defeat Miami, 76-53, at East Rutherford, N.J.

The lighting at Continental Airlines Arena flickered before the game started, and play was momentarily suspended when the lights dimmed shortly after tipoff.

Coaches Perry Clark of Miami and Louis Orr of Seton Hall elected to continue, but officials halted play when the lights went out with 17:27 left in the half. The teams left the floor and play resumed 15 minutes later after crews got emergency generators started.

That was good news for Seton Hall's Andre Barrett, who scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the final 7:44 of the half to rally the Pirates.

Good Start

Rick Apodaca's reputation suffered when the Hofstra player was suspended for 14 games after testing positive for marijuana.

Making his first start of the season, Apodaca scored a career-high 34 points to lead the Pride over Old Dominion, 69-65, at Hempstead, N.Y.

Raising the Roof

Fans at Clemson's Littlejohn Coliseum let Olu Babalola know they appreciated his effort after he drew a foul and made two free throws with 5.7 seconds left to give the Tigers a 78-77 victory over Virginia.

Babalola was fouled battling for a rebound. A 68% free-throw shooter, he calmly swished both shots, causing a roar so loud it shook the arena's newly replaced roof.

Associated Press contributed to this report.



All-Division Leaders

*--* In the NCAA basketball record book, the all-time all-division ranking by victories includes coaches in all classifications at four-year institutions, with a minimum of 10 NCAA seasons. In the all-time rankings by games and seasons, coaches must have at least 10 NCAA Division I seasons


*--* VICTORIES Coach, School(s) Seasons W L Pct Dean Smith (North Carolina) 36 879 254 776 Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) 41 876 190 822 Clarence "Big House" Gaines (Winston-Salem) 47 828 447 649 *Jim Phelan (Mount St. Mary's) 49 824 516 615 *Jerry Johnson (LeMoyne-Owen) 45 806 393 672 *Bob Knight (Army, Indiana, Texas Tech) 37 798 300 727 Lefty Driesell (Davidson, Maryland, James 41 786 394 667 Madison, Georgia St.) Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach St., Nevada Las 31 778 202 794 Vegas, Fresno St.) Henry Iba (Northwest Missouri St., Colorado, 41 767 338 694 Oklahoma St.) Ed Diddle (Western Kentucky) 42 759 302 715


*--* GAMES SEASONS 1,340 *Jim Phelan 49 *Jim Phelan 1,180 Lefty Driesell 48 Phog Allen (Butler, Kansas, Haskell, Central Missouri State) 1,134 *Lou Henson 42 Ed Diddle (Hardin-Simmons, New Mexico State, Illinois) 1,133 Dean Smith 42 Ray Meyer 1,106 Norm Stewart (No. Iowa, 41 Tony Hinkle (Butler) Missouri) 1,105 Henry Iba 41 Henry Iba 1,098 *Bob Knight 41 Adolph Rupp 1,090 Marv Harshman (Pacific 41 Lefty Driesell Lutheran, Washington State, Washington) 1,078 Ray Meyer (DePaul) 40 Marv Harshman 1,072 Don Haskins (Texas El 39 *Lou Henson Paso) * active


*--* Hail to Stuff of Legends the Coach Preside Some Hall of Fame college coaches active in Phelan's first nts season (1954-55), with their school that season, years during that careers spanned: Phelan' s 49 seasons at Mount St. Mary's and their time of service : Dwight Everett Case (North Carolina St.) 1946-65 D. Eisenho wer 1953-61 John F. Ed Diddle (Western Kentucky) 1922-64 Kennedy 1961-63 Lyndon "Big House" Gaines (Winston-Salem) 1946-93 B. Johnson 1963-69 Richard Jack Gardner (Utah) 1939-71 M. Nixon 1969-74 Gerald "Slats" Gill (Oregon State) 1928-64 R. Ford 1974-77 Jimmy Henry Iba (Oklahoma State) 1929-70 Carter 1977-81 Ronald Frank McGuire (North Carolina) 1947-80 Reagan 1981-89 George Pete Newell (California) 1946-60 Bush 1989-93 Bill Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) 1930-72 Clinton 1993-20 01 George John Wooden (UCLA) 1946-75 W. Bush 2001-pr esent


Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World