Gerard J. Friel

Durham, New Hampshire

1943 - 2007


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Durham- Gerard “Gerry” J. Friel, 64, former University of New Hampshire Basketball Coach, passed away August 20, 2007 at the Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, Dover, after a long and courageous battle with illness.

Born on July 8, 1943 in Utica, New York, he was the son of James and Edna (McFadden) Friel.

Gerry spent 20 years (1969-89) as the head coach for the men’s basketball program. After his final season in coaching, he served as the Director of University Athletic Relations before taking on a new role as the Director of Athletic Fundraising. He also served as Associate Vice President of the UNH Foundation.

He will mostly be remembered as a stalwart on the sidelines of Lundholm Gymnasium for the better part of three decades in guiding the Wildcats on and off the court.

Gerry closed out his 20-year career with 188 victories, which ranks first among all UNH men’s basketball coaches in the 100-year history of the program.

A 1965 graduate of the State University of New York-Oswego, Gerry began his coaching career at Fulton High School in upstate New York. He worked at Fulton for one year before joining the Boston College staff as an assistant coach under Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy. Friel helped guide the Eagles to the NCAA tournament in 1967 and 1968 and advanced to the NIT Championship game in 1969. He served under Cousy for three years before assuming his post at UNH.

Friel was named ECAC North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year following the 1982-83 campaign. He also earned New England and U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-District Coach of the Year awards that season. Gerry was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

He was a member of the Portsmouth Country Club, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Gerry was also the Director of the Phillips Exeter Academy summer basketball school, starting in 1971 for 24 summers.

He is survived by his wife Joan, his five children Jennifer, Keith, Gregory, Jeremy and Jilliane; two sisters, Dr. Mary Friel S.N.D., of East Hartford, Ct and Kathleen Hall of Cincinnati, Ohio; a brother, Robert Friel of Melrose, Ma and Tuftonboro, NH; several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and a brother James.

A Celebration of Gerry’s Life will be held this Saturday, (Aug. 25) at 1 p.m. at Huddleston Hall on the campus of the University of New Hampshire.

In lieu of flowers should friends desire memorials may be made to The Coach Gerry Friel Scholarship, C/O The UNH Foundation, Elliott Alumni Center, Durham, NH 03824.

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Dear Friels,
Deepest condolences on the loss of your wonderful dad...May the love you share as a family give you strength and comfort. I wish you the warmest of memories and gentle healing, and thank you all so very much for sharing yourselves and your special dad with us.

We are sending our love and sympathy to Joan and their lovely family.
Francis J. Sylvia and Priscilla Manning

Dear Joan and Family
Our thourhts are with you today. Please be in contact

Our hearts go out to you at this time and in the days ahead.

Dear Joan, Jen, Keith, Greg, Jeremy and Jillian

I was so very sorry to open the paper and read about the passing of your husband and father. My thoughts are with each of you.

I think of the Friel family and of course basketball comes to mind but most importantly a friendly, happy and kind family is what I think of. I met Gerry sometime in the 80's as I worked at his basketball camps and also at metter what, he always had time to talk to me and it was obvious that...

Dear Jennifer and members of your family,
I am sad to hear that you lost your dad. I offer my deepest sympathy.
Warmly, Nicole Anderson

Dear Joan and family,
I was deeply saddened to hear of Gerry's passing. I worked with Gerry at the Alumni Center. He was such a caring man, who wore his heart of his sleeve, and it was evident that his family was the pride and joy of his life. He was also very kind to me in the loss of our son. He was a joy to work with and will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Dear Joan and Family
We are so saddened to hear of Gerry's death. The Friel family are a part of many wonderful memories of our years in Durham ! You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Much love
Betty Lou and Graham Fuller

Dear Friel Family,
Through my friendship with Jennifer, I have been blessed with an 'introduction' to Gerry. To the athletic achievements that are so impressive, I would add an even greater feat: earning the love of five children. This indeed merits respect and admiration.
As your relationship with him continues in a deep and different way, may God bless and uplift you with strength, grace, and humor.
Warmly, Donna Milmore