Monday
Jun222009

Walter E. Meanwell

Enshrined 1959
Leeds, England
January 26, 1884 - December 2, 1953

Biography

Flamboyant, aggressive, and demanding the 5-foot-6 Walter Meanwell didn't have just one nickname, he had five: "Doc," "Little Doctor," "Napoleon of Basketball," "The Little Giant," and "The Wizard." Meanwell, who doubled as a physician, took a helter-skelter sport, and with tactical maneuvers and precise coaching, turned basketball into an orderly game. His teams featured short passing, crisscross dribbles, and a tight zone defense. In 1912, as the first-ever coach at the University of Wisconsin, Meanwell implemented these innovations and in his first three seasons, the Badgers won 44 of 45 games -- in 20 seasons, they won 70 percent of all games. In 1934, Meanwell retired to Madison, Wisconsin, to practice medicine.

Career Highlights

Big Ten Championships with Wisconsin, 1912-14, 1916 1921, 1923-24, 1929
Charter member, National Basketball Coaches Association
One of the first coaches to conduct coaching schools in the summer
His book, The Science of Basketball (1924), was translated into several languages