Carl Boldt, teammate of Bill Russell in NCAA title run, dies at 82

University of San Francisco 1956 basketball team members, from left: Hal Perry, Mike Farmer, Bill Russell, Carl Boldt and Gene Brown.

Carl Boldt, a forward who played alongside Bill Russell and K.C. Jones with the University of San Francisco basketball team that won a record 60 consecutive games and back-to-back NCAA championships in the mid-1950s, has died. He was 82.

Boldt, who lived in Arcadia, died Friday at Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City after a period of declining health, said his daughter, Jennifer Condas.

Boldt arrived at USF after starring at Glendale College and serving in the Army. He was a starting forward on the Dons’ second consecutive championship team in the 1955-56 season and, after Russell and Jones went on to the pros, returned the next year, when the winning streak ended five games into the 1956-57 season.

The 6-foot-5 Boldt averaged 8.6 points and 5 rebounds in 1955-56, when the Dons went 29-0, but was dismissed from the team in January 1957 after clashing with coach Phil Woolpert.


“I was the team’s ‘bad boy,’ the ‘character,’ ” Boldt told The Times in 1973, when UCLA was on the verge of breaking the Dons’ record for consecutive victories. “I used to do wild, strange things. Like mimicking Woolpert and the writers.”

Russell, the undisputed leader of the team, went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics.

“We were a great team, but so much came down to Russell,” Boldt said in the 1973 Times interview. “I used to laugh when I told the guys how the newspapers would play the story if our plane ever crashed. The headlines would have said, ‘BILL RUSSELL KILLED,’ and the rest of our names would be found under ‘also dead,’ back on page 400.”

Boldt was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1957 but did not play in the NBA. He was a scout and assistant coach in the American Basketball Assn. and a high school basketball coach at St. Francis High School in La Cañada Flintridge and elsewhere before turning to various business ventures.


Boldt was born Oct. 22, 1932, in Long Beach. After both of his parents died when he was a child, he grew up in a home for boys before being raised by other family members in Glendale and Tujunga. He was a standout basketball player at Verdugo Hills High School.

His survivors include his wife, Rosemary; their children Jennifer, Robert and Kenneth; two children from his first marriage, Gregory and Elizabeth; and grandchildren.