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August 10, 2005

‘Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY’ Exhibition on the Life and Times of ‘Mr. Basketball’ Opens at CCNY Library

NEW YORK, August 10, 2005 – Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY, an exhibition celebrating the life, achievements and 37-year coaching career of Nat Holman, who led CCNY’s varsity basketball team to victory in the 1950 NCAA and NIT championships, has opened to the public. The exhibition, which runs through December 30, 2005, and coincides with the centenary of men’s basketball at CCNY, is located in the Morris R. Cohen Library Atrium, North Academic Center, The City College of New York.

That first men’s team, known then and now as the Beavers, launched City College basketball history in the fall of 1905 with a season of one win and four losses. Nat Holman became the team’s third coach 14 years later in 1919 and embarked upon a career that elevated The City College men’s basketball teams to the pinnacle of collegiate play with the never-repeated dual national championships in 1950.

Known by many monikers including “Mr. Basketball,” “Kid Holman,” “Old Drill Master,” and “the Old Professor,” Nat Holman was basketball’s earliest superstar. His eight-decade career as a player, coach, and author, which helped establish basketball as a popular spectator sport in the first half of the 20th Century, is illustrated through approximately 100 images drawn from the photographs, cartoons, drawings and other documents in the Nat Holman Papers Collection in The City College Archives.

In addition to covering his collegiate coaching career at CCNY, the exhibit contains material on his concurrent career playing basketball professionally. He played with the Original Celtics (pre-NBA) from 1921 to 1928 and with the Chicago Bruins until 1933.

Regarded as basketball’s greatest player of his day because of his indefinable court savvy, Holman attempted to share his knowledge and teach the game to young men at The City College of New York. At CCNY, he introduced a street-smart style of basketball that emphasized ball handling, speed and passing and came to be known as the “City Game.” Among the many honors conferred upon him following his retirement from coaching at CCNY in 1960 were his 1964 enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the dedication of The City College gymnasium in his honor on October 7, 1972.

Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY presents the scope of Holman’s accomplishments as an athlete, coach, and ambassador of the game of basketball to the world. For more information about the Nat Holman: The Man, His Legacy and CCNY exhibit at CCNY, please call the Cohen Library at (212) 650-7271. The City College is located at 138th Street and Convent Avenue, Manhattan.