By JEFF HARVEY
for the Princeton Times
In his 97 years, Lewis D’Antoni has been a player for Concord College, a legendary high school basketball coach for three schools in two states and the father of two NBA coaches, among other achievements.
Saturday, his alma mater will honor the Concord Athletics Hall of Famer by observing “Lewis D’Antoni Day” during its basketball double-header against WVIAC opponent Pitt-Johnstown. The honor will recognize his career, which included his autobiography “The Coach’s Coach”, which he wrote last year.
D’Antoni made his mark as a high school basketball coach in southern West Virginia and Ohio where his 35 season career produced 450 games in the winning column. He passed his coaching abilities on to his two sons, Mike D’Antoni and Dan D’Antoni. Both sons played basketball for Marshall University and are now NBA coaches with the New York Knicks – Mike as head coach and Dan as assistant coach.
A native of McComas and resident of Mullens, D’Antoni graduated from Concord in 1937. He coached at Pineville High School from 1937-1941 and at Mullens High School from 1942 to 1959. Mullens won the state basketball championship in 1955. That same year, D’Antoni received the first High School Coach of the Year Award from the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
While at Concord, D’Antoni was the president of the freshman class and of the Phi Delta Phi fraternity; lettered four years each in football and basketball; lettered in tennis; All-WVIAC Football in 1936; All-WVIAC Tournament in Men’s Basketball 1935 and 1936; led the basketball team in scoring all four years; captained both the football and basketball teams in 1936; was named to the All-Timers Team in both football and basketball ; and was a member of the Blue Key Fraternity.
He is a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving 44 months as a Chief Specialist and LT JG.
He has been named to the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and was an inaugural member of the Concord Athletics Hall of Fame. He coached in Ohio at Chesapeake High School from 1971-1982.
In his memoir, D’Antoni shared the story of his immigrant Italian family and his life with sports.
He will be honored at halftime during Concord’s men’s basketball game on Dec. 10. The Mountain Lions take on Pitt-Johnstown at the Carter Center. Tip-off is 3 p.m. The Lady Lions get the action started against Pitt-Johnstown earlier in the afternoon with a 1 p.m. game.
D’Antoni will hold a book signing for “The Coach’s Coach” during a reception following the men’s game. Books will be available for purchase at that time. They may also be purchased by visiting www.lulu.com.
Jeff Harvey can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be reached on Facebook (Facebook.com/Jeff Harvey).