Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Honors for Pete Carril, Jim Phelan and Debbie Ryan

Local coaches sweep the honors at Lapchick Awards Dinner

Honors for Pete Carril, Jim Phelan and Debbie Ryan


Three nationally reknowned college basketball coaches who have their roots in the Delaware Valley, have been selected as recipients of the fourth annual Lapchick Character Award, one of the newer but more prestigious honors for college basketball coaches.

Fabled former Princeton coach Pete Carril, and equally well-known Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan, and Virginia women's coach Debbie Ryan will be honored at a luncheon at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 17, it was announced Thursday.

Carril, still coaching at the age of 81 (he's an assistant with the Sacramento Kings), played for Bethlehem Liberty High and at Lafayette College.  He coached at Easton High and Reading High, before spending a year at Lehigh, then moving to a nationally prominent tenure at Princeton. In 29 years, he compiled a 514-261 (.658 winning percentage) record, the best of any coach in Ivy League basketball history.

Phelan, who is 82, played at La Salle High and La Salle College, before moving on to Mount St. Mary's, where he spent 49 years and amassed a stupefying 830 wins (overall record of 830-524), including the 1962 NCAA Division III national championship.

Ryan, 58, played high school ball at Hopewell in Mercer County then played point guard at Ursinus College.  While in grad school at Virginia she was offered the Cavalliers' head coaching position and stayed there for 34 years and 776 victories.  She retired this spring.

Needless to say, all three have well-deserved places in the basketball Hall of Fame. 


Don McKee Inquirer Sports Writer
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Don McKee arrived at the white Inquirer building the same month (August of 1974) that Richard Nixon departed the White House, but claims no connection. He has covered Penn State football, the Flyers of Fred Shero, the Eagles of Dick Vermeil and backed up several beats. After 25 years covering high school sports in three cities and two states, he says the only teams he is allowed to root for are Conrad Weiser High School and Penn State, his two alma maters. LIKES: Straight talk. HATES: Spin doctoring and mindless devotion to conventional wisdom. Reach Don at

Don McKee
Don McKee Inquirer Sports Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on
Stay Connected