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Dave Cowens

Dave Cowens

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David William Cowens is a retired American professional basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 player and NBA
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 head coach. At 6'9", he played the center
Center (basketball)
The center, colloquially known as the five or the post, is one of the standard positions in a regulation basketball game. The center is normally the tallest player on the team, and often has a great deal of strength and body mass as well...

 and occasionally the power forward
Power forward (basketball)
Power forward is a position in the sport of basketball. The position is referred to in playbook terms as the four position and is commonly abbreviated "PF". It has also been referred to as the "post" position. Power forwards play a role similar to that of center in what is called the "post" or "low...

 position. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. He was recently an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

, and currently serves as a special assistant to Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars
Joe Dumars
Joe Dumars III , nicknamed Joe D, is a retired American basketball player in the NBA, and currently the Detroit Pistons' President of Basketball Operations....

.

College career


After starring in high school at Newport Central Catholic High
Newport Central Catholic High School
Newport Central Catholic High School is a coed private secondary school in Newport, Kentucky and part of the Diocese of Covington. It is located in the center of Newport overlooking the Cincinnati Skyline and Ohio Valley. Founded in 1896 with a Roman Catholic affiliation, it serves students in...

 in his hometown of Newport, Kentucky, Cowens played his collegiate basketball at Florida State University
Florida State University
The Florida State University is a space-grant and sea-grant public university located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and significant research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation...

 from 1967 to 1970. He scored 1,479 points in 78 games at Florida State playing D-1 ball, at 19.0 points per game, and ranks among Florida State's top 10 all-time scoring leaders.

He is the all-time Florida State leading rebounder with 1,340 rebounds (17.2 rebounds per game). He holds the team record for best seasonal rebound average (17.5 in the 1968-1969 season). He once grabbed 31 rebounds (second best all-time) against LSU
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, most often referred to as Louisiana State University, or LSU, is a public coeducational university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The University was founded in 1853 in what is now known as Pineville, Louisiana, under the name...

 in the 1968-69 season.

He was named The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

 All-America
All-America
An All-America team is an honorary sports team composed of outstanding amateur players—those considered the best players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply...

 second team in 1970. His number now hangs in the rafters of the Donald L. Tucker Center
Donald L. Tucker Center
Donald L. Tucker Center is a multi-purpose arena in Tallahassee, Florida, located within the Leon County Civic Center. The arena has the biggest capacity of any arena in the Florida Panhandle. The arena opened in 1981 and was built at a cost of $33.8 million, financed by the city. It has had WCW...

.

NBA career


Despite some critics who felt Cowens was too small to play center, Cowens was selected as the fourth overall pick by the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 during the 1970 NBA Draft
1970 NBA Draft
The 1970 NBA Draft was the 24th annual draft of the National Basketball Association . The draft was held on March 23, 1970 before the 1970–71 season. In this draft, 17 NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players...

, largely at the recommendation of former Celtics center Bill Russell
Bill Russell
William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association...

. During his rookie year, Cowens averaged 17.0 points per game and 15.0 rebounds per game, and shared the NBA's Rookie of the Year honors with Portland
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association . The Trail Blazers originally played their home games in the...

's Geoff Petrie
Geoff Petrie
Geoffrey Michael Petrie is a former American basketball player and current basketball team executive. A native of Pennsylvania, he played professional basketball in the National Basketball Association for the Portland Trail Blazers where he won NBA Rookie of the Year in 1971...

. He also led the league in personal fouls that same year.

In 1973, Cowens averaged 20.5 ppg and 16.2 rpg while helping the Celtics to a league best 68-14 record. He was chosen the NBA MVP
NBA Most Valuable Player Award
The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player is an annual National Basketball Association award given since the 1955–56 NBA season. The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is named in honor of the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement...

 as well as MVP of the All-Star Game
1973 NBA All-Star Game
GAME 23: at Chicago, Jan. 23, 1973MVP: Dave CowensCoaches: East: Tom Heinsohn, West: Bill Sharman.Network: ABC-Eastern Conference: -Western Conference: -Score by periods: *Halftime— East, 50-45*Third Quarter— East, 76-65...

 that same season. Cowens and fellow Celtic Bill Russell both have the distinction of being named MVP of the league but not being included on the All-NBA First Team that year.

Cowens retired in 1980, however, in 1982 he was coaxed out of retirement by the Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are a professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. They are part of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, and currently plays at the Bradley Center....

, who were then coached by his former Celtics teammate Don Nelson
Don Nelson
Donald Arvid "Don" Nelson is a former NBA player and head coach. He coached the Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Golden State Warriors....

. The Celtics still held his rights at the time so the Bucks gave up Quinn Buckner
Quinn Buckner
William Quinn Buckner, commonly known as Quinn Buckner is a former American professional basketball player and coach. He played collegiately at Indiana University, and was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 7th pick of the 1976 NBA Draft...

 as compensation. Cowens played for the Bucks during the 1982-83 season before retiring for good.

During his NBA career, Cowens averaged 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, was selected to seven All-Star Games, was named to the All-NBA Second Team three times, and was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team in 1976 and All-NBA Defensive Second Team in 1973 and 1980. He was a member of the Celtics' 1974 and 1976 NBA Championship teams.

Cowens' playing credo was all-out intensity at both ends of the court, a style that never wavered during his 11-year NBA career.

As a testament to his all-around ability, Cowens is one of only four players (Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen
Scottie Maurice Pippen is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association . He is most remembered for his time with the Chicago Bulls, with whom he was instrumental in six NBA Championships and their record 1995–96 season of 72 wins...

, Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett
Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball player who currently plays power forward for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association . After a high school basketball career at Farragut Career Academy which included winning a national player of the year award, he...

 and LeBron James
LeBron James
LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association . Nicknamed "King James", he was a three-time "Mr. Basketball" of Ohio in high school, and was highly promoted in the national media as a future NBA superstar while a...

 are the others) to lead his team in all five major statistical categories for a season: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. He accomplished the feat in the 1977-78 season.

Personality


From time to time, Cowens exhibited a few unconventional traits:
  • In 1974, after the Celtics won the NBA championship over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a retired American professional basketball player. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer, with 38,387 points. During his career with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers from 1969 to 1989, Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships and a record six regular season...

     and the Milwaukee Bucks
    Milwaukee Bucks
    The Milwaukee Bucks are a professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. They are part of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, and currently plays at the Bradley Center....

    , he slept on a park bench on Boston Common
    Boston Common
    Boston Common is a central public park in Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Boston Commons". Dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. The Boston Common consists of of land bounded by Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street,...

    , purportedly after wandering throughout the neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Boston to celebrate the victory with Celtics fans and an entourage of admirers and devotees.

  • During the early part of the 1977 season, Cowens took a leave of absence from the Celtics and worked as a cab driver. He explained that he just needed "to clear his head" and that he was "suffering from burnout."

Post-NBA career


He began his coaching career by serving as a combined player/coach for the Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 during the 1978-79 season, but he quit coaching after the season, and returned as a full-time player before retiring in 1980. On February 8, 1981, the Celtics retired Cowens' uniform number. Cowens uniform number (#18) had previously been worn by Jim Loscutoff
Jim Loscutoff
James Loscutoff Jr. is a former professional basketball player for the NBA's Boston Celtics. A forward, Loscutoff played on seven Celtics championship teams between 1956 and 1964....

, who asked that the number not be retired so future Celtics could wear it.

Cowens coached the Bay State Bombardiers of the Continental Basketball Association
Continental Basketball Association
The Continental Basketball Association was a professional men's basketball league in the United States, which has been on hiatus since the 2009 season.- History :...

 in 1984-85. He returned to the NBA coaching ranks by serving as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs are an American professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. They are part of the Southwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association ....

 in 1994-96, and became head coach of the Charlotte Hornets from 1996 to 1999 and had a brief tenure as head coach with the Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. They are part of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 from 1999 to 2001 which only lasted 105 games.

In 1991, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In 1990
Massachusetts general election, 1990
A Massachusetts general election was held on November 6, 1990 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.The election included:* statewide elections for United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Treasurer, and Auditor;* district elections for U.S...

, Cowens, a former Democrat, ran as a Republican for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth is the principal public information officer of the state government of the U.S...

. However, because he did not register by June 5, 1989, he was unable to appear on the primary ballot. Cowens considered running a sticker campaign
Write-in candidate
A write-in candidate is a candidate in an election whose name does not appear on the ballot, but for whom voters may vote nonetheless by writing in the person's name. Some states and local jurisdictions allow a voter to affix a sticker with a write-in candidate's name on it to the ballot in lieu...

 for the Republican nomination, however he decided to drop out of the race.

On May 25, 2005, he was named head coach of the newly formed Chicago franchise in the Women's National Basketball Association
Women's National Basketball Association
The Women's National Basketball Association is a women's professional basketball league in the United States. It currently is composed of twelve teams. The league was founded on April 24, 1996 as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association...

 (WNBA). The team, known as the Chicago Sky
Chicago Sky
The Chicago Sky is a professional basketball team based in Rosemont, Illinois, playing in the Eastern Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association . The team was founded before the 2006 WNBA season began. The team is owned by Michael J. Alter and Margaret Stender...

, began play in 2006 at the UIC Pavilion
UIC Pavilion
The UIC Pavilion is a 6,958-seat multi-purpose arena, located at 525 S. Racine Street on the West Side in Chicago, Illinois, USA, which opened in 1982. It is home to the University of Illinois at Chicago Flames basketball team and the former home of the Chicago Sky WNBA team...

, located in the University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago, or UIC, is a state-funded public research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Its campus is in the Near West Side community area, near the Chicago Loop...

. After only winning five games in the 2006 season, however, Cowens left the Sky to join the coaching staff of the Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons are a franchise of the National Basketball Association based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The team's home arena is The Palace of Auburn Hills. It was originally founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne Pistons as a member of the National Basketball League in 1941, where...

 on September 12, 2006.

There is a road named after him in his hometown of Newport, Kentucky
Newport, Kentucky
Newport is a city in Campbell County, Kentucky, United States, at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers. The population was 15,273 at the 2010 census. Historically, it was one of four county seats of Campbell County. Newport is part of the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio Metro Area which...

: "Dave Cowens Drive".

External links