SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Basketball Hall of Fame Family celebrates the life and mourns the passing of legendary basketball administrator Tom Jernstedt. Jernstedt, enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017, has passed away at the age of 75.
“Tom Jernstedt was a humble and unsung steward of the game,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Under his direction, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament grew into a phenomenon that brings college basketball fans together on a global scale. He will forever be remembered as the Father of the Final Four and one of the most respected leaders in basketball.”
Tom Jernstedt’s introduction to the NCAA came as a reserve on the University of Oregon football team. Despite a lack of playing time, he proved himself to be a leader in athletics. While football was his primary interest early in life, he would leave a lasting mark on basketball starting in 1972 when he was hired as the director of events at the NCAA and worked his first Final Four. Nearly 50 years later, the madness and the magic of March still reflects the vision and the leadership Jernstedt brought to the NCAA throughout his career. He helped steer the NCAA Tournament through television contracts, tournament expansion, the shift to domed stadiums, and the selection process. He also served as the President of USA Basketball from 2001 to 2004 and was the 2001 recipient of the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.