Meet Clair Bee

Coach Clair Bee (1900-1983), a 1967 enshrinee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as being considered one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. He holds college basketball’s highest lifetime winning percentage (82.6 percent) of all time. He is credited with originating the 1-3-1 zone defense, the 3-second rule, and the 24-second shot clock in the NBA.

Bee’s college coaching record was nearly impeccable. His 3-year record at Rider College was 55-7; his 1929-30 team was the first college team to score more than 1,000 points in a single season. His Long Island University teams were undefeated in 1935-36 and 1938-39, strung together a 43 game winning streak, and in a 13 year span accomplished a 222-3 homecourt record—a 98.6 average.

In addition to coaching, Clair Bee served as a professor in the business department, assistant to the president, and supervised the financial affairs of the university. He coached collegiate football, basketball, and baseball. Bee also traveled abroad bringing the game of basketball around the globe.

Bee is also the author of the best-selling 24 volume Chip Hilton series. In an interview, his daughter, Cindy (who has since updated the series with the help of her husband, Randy) says, that “first and foremost, he always felt that he was an educator, and to him that was critical. He knew that he could make an impact at the collegiate level, but he also felt that character, values, and beliefs systems, are already well-formed by the time a kid gets to college…He felt that the younger he could reach people, in conjunction with family and church, the better. He decided that the way he might give such a gift would be to write.”

Information from Broadman & Holman Publishers and an interview with Posted 08/03

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