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Joseph "Joedy" Gardner
June 29, 2017 | Peoria, AZ
Fred Schaus, a former Los Angeles Lakers coach and general manager who mentored Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley at West Virginia, has died. He was 84.
The former West Virginia coach and athletic director died Wednesday night in Morgantown, W.Va., said Dan Hastings, a funeral director at Hastings Funeral Home. Schaus had been living in a nursing home.
"Fred's passing brings finality to a relationship that began in 1955, when he first came to our house to introduce himself as the coach of West Virginia University," West said in a statement released by the school.
A Cabin Creek native, West recalled Schaus telling him WVU would be the place for him to attend school and have an opportunity to play basketball.
"At that point in my life, he was the first coach to show interest in me," said West. "I was thrilled beyond words, and to this day I remember much about our meeting. Little did I know what a long-lasting relationship we would have."
Born in Newark, Ohio, Schaus became the first Mountaineers player to score 1,000 career points. He was drafted by the Fort Wayne Pistons of the NBA and also played for the New York Knicks from 1949-54.
He compiled a 127-26 record as head coach at West Virginia from 1954 to 1960, including six straight NCAA tournament berths. The Mountaineers, led by West, advanced to the NCAA championship game in 1959, losing to California 71-70.
Schaus followed West to the Lakers, going 315-245 in seven seasons as head coach and guiding the team to four NBA finals before becoming general manager in 1967. The 1971-72 Lakers, behind West and Wilt Chamberlain, won a then-record 69 games in the regular season and beat the Knicks for the NBA title.
"We shared many incredible experiences, both joyous and painful, during our years together at WVU and then as my coach with the Los Angeles Lakers," West said. "As a young man with little experience with the outside world, he bec ame my mentor and sounding board as I progressed as an athlete and as a person."
Schaus returned to the college ranks in 1972, going 105-59 in six seasons as head coach at Purdue. He also served as athletic director at West Virginia from 1981-89 before he retired. Schaus was inducted into his alma mater's athletics hall of fame in 1992.
Current athletic director Ed Pastilong succeeded Schaus.
"We lost one of our finest student-athletes, coaches and administrators in Fred," Pastilong said. "We are deeply indebted to his allegiance and service to WVU and our athletic department."
West Virginia annually honors the most outstanding captains of its varsity teams with the Fred Schaus Awards.
Hundley grew up in Charleston and remembers listening to WVU basketball games on the radio when Schaus was a player. Hundley, who earned his nickname for his on-court antics such as behind-the-back and no-look passes, also played for Schaus with the Lakers.
"He was a no-nonsense coach, but I learned years later that he secretly enjoyed all the things I did as a player at WVU," Hundley said in a statement. "He always told me, 'I (don't) care if you drop kick the ball out of the building, but we better be up by 20 when you do.'
"Fred taught me that the game was the most important thing. He never did anything to jeopardize the game."
Schaus is survived by his wife, Barbara, two sons, John and Jim, a sister, Mary Brown, and six grandchildren. Jim Schaus is the athletic director at Ohio University.
Services are scheduled for Sunday at Suncrest United Methodist Church in Morgantown with burial on Monday at Fairmount Cemetery in Jacksontown, Ohio.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press
Joseph "Joedy" Gardner
June 29, 2017 | Peoria, AZ
In 1964, he did the NBA finals on network TV with Marty Glickman. He spoke only when he had something of insight to share. I was impressed. Chich Hearn spoke very highly of Coach Schaus.
April 10, 2015 | Fort Lauderdale, FL
I WATCHED "FREDDIE" PLAY WITH THE FORT WAYNE PISTONS AT THE NORTH SIDE HIGH SCHOOL GYM. I LATER HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE IN L.A. OF SITTING IN (I WAS TOLD) FRED'S COURTSIDE SEATS AT THE L.A. COLLISIUM FOR A GAME AGAINST THE DETROIT PISTONS. GOT THE TICKETS THROUGH JACK KENT COOK'S SON. BRINGS BACK CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF WALKING BY THE HOME OF FRED ZOLLNER ON THE WAY HOME FROM GRADE SCHOOL. HIS HOME WOULD LATER BE THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE NBA.
March 27, 2010 | UPLAND, CA
I REMEMBER WATCHING 'FREDDIE" PLAY WITH THE PISTONS IN THE NORTH SIDE HIGH SCHOOL GYM. I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE LATER ON IN L.A. TO SIT IN (I WAS TOLD) FREDDIE'S TWO FLOOR SEATS AT THE END OF THE COURT AT THE COLLISIUM. BRINGS BACK MEMORIES OF WHEN I WAS A KID, WALKING HOME FROME GRADE SCHOOL PAST FRED ZOLLNER'S HOME. DIDN'T KNOW THEN THAT HIS HOME WOULD LATER ON BE WHERE THE NBA WOULD BE BORN.
March 27, 2010
I played for W&J when Fred was a superstar at WVU. Many years later I introduced myself to him-he was very nice and said he didn't remember me. A great player,coach and administrator.
March 06, 2010
I followed his career as a young coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, then for the years at Purdue. He was a wonderful coach and man. My condolences to his wife and family
March 01, 2010 | Bergenfield, NJ
I've often written about Fred Schaus and interviewed him three times by phone over the years. He was a gentleman and a fine basketball coach and executive. The Los Angeles Lakers, West Virginia Mountaineers and Purdue Boilermakers all were well served by Fred.
My condolences to the family.
February 28, 2010 | Salem, VA
As a sports fan, I know the fans would love to read any books Mr.Schaus has written or the family might write. What a great career he had!
February 22, 2010 | Ft.Valley, GA
Our deepest condolences are offered to Mr. Schaus's family and friends. May you be comforted by your precious memories and the Bible's promise, "that God will wipe out every tear from our eyes, and death will be no more, neither mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore..."
The Harrison Family
February 19, 2010 | Lance, MI