Lennie Rosenbluth, Who Led North Carolina to a Title, Dies at 89

Lennie Rosenbluth, Who Led North Carolina to a Title, Dies at 89

Lennie Rosenbluth, the All-America ahead who led a North Carolina group with a beginning lineup of New Yorkers to an unbeaten season and a thrilling victory over Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas squad within the 1957 NCAA basketball event championship recreation, died on Saturday. He was 89 .

His dying was introduced by North Carolina’s athletic division, which didn’t cite the trigger or say the place he died. He had been residing in Chapel Hill, NC, dwelling to the college’s most important campus.

Rosenbluth, at 6 toes 5 inches, averaged 28 factors per recreation within the 1956-57 season and beat out Chamberlain for the Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year award. His Tar Heels went 32-0 and capped their season with a 54- 53 triple-overtime victory over Kansas, with Rosenbluth scoring 20 factors earlier than fouling out late in regulation. Chamberlain, who went on to grow to be one of many National Basketball Association’s most dominant gamers, was held to 23 factors after averaging 30 throughout the common season.

In the semifinals, Rosenbluth hit two bounce pictures within the third time beyond regulation of North Carolina’s 74-70 victory over Michigan State and completed with 31 factors.

A local of the Bronx, he performed sparingly for the basketball group at James Monroe High School in that borough however made a powerful exhibiting taking part in basketball at Catskill summer time resort lodges, a magnet for main New York metropolitan space gamers. He got here to the eye of Frank McGuire, who was named the North Carolina coach in 1953 after taking St. John’s, situated in Brooklyn at the time, to the NCAA title recreation.

Rosenbluth was within the vanguard of a participant pipeline from New York to North Carolina orchestrated by McGuire.

“Basketball was not but a really nationwide sport, and the sport was nonetheless most of the time a metropolis recreation, performed greatest, it was believed, in New York,” David Halberstam wrote in The New York Times in 1999. “But it was a unhealthy time for the faculty sport in New York. The point-fixing scandals of the early ’50s had destroyed the game domestically.”

McGuire developed a North Carolina group that thrived in a largely Protestant area with a lineup that featured Rosenbluth, who was Jewish, and 4 Catholic teammates: Tommy Kearns, who had performed highschool ball at St. Ann’s, in Brooklyn; Pete Brennan, from St. Augustine, additionally in Brooklyn; Joe Quigg, from St. Francis Prep, in Queens; and Bobby Cunningham, from All Hallows, within the Bronx.

Rosenbluth averaged 28 factors and eight.6 rebounds a recreation within the Tar Heels’ 1956-57 common season. His 2,047 profession factors are probably the most ever by a North Carolina participant who appeared in solely three seasons.

He was named a second-team All-American by The Associated Press and United Press International for the 1955-56 season, when he was a junior, and a “consensus” All-American for the 1956-57 championship season, which means that a host of shops agreed that he was among the many high 5 gamers in faculty basketball.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors because the sixth participant chosen within the 1957 NBA draft. But the Warriors already had the high-scoring Paul Arizin at small ahead. Rosenbluth, his backup, averaged solely 4.2 factors a recreation in his two professional seasons.

Leonard Robert Rosenbluth was born on Jan. 22, 1933, a son of Jack and Rose Rosenbluth. His father labored within the tv manufacturing enterprise.

After graduating from North Carolina and taking part in for the Warriors, Rosenbluth taught American historical past and coached basketball at a highschool in Wilson, NC, east of Raleigh. In a comparability of kinds to his Tar Heel nationwide championship group, he as soon as quipped how “my first 12 months, we had a excellent season once more, besides we misplaced each recreation.”

Rosenbluth once more taught historical past and coached highschool basketball in Florida for some 35 years. When his first spouse, Helen (Oliver) Rosenbluth, referred to as Pat, was discovered to have most cancers, they returned to Chapel Hill in order that she could possibly be handled within the University of North Carolina hospital system. She died in 2010. He married Dianne Stabler in 2011.

Rosenbluth had a daughter, Elizabeth; a son, Steven, and grandchildren from his first marriage. A listing of survivors was not instantly obtainable.

He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel and the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Commack, NY, on Long Island.

In 2002, the Atlantic Coast Conference chosen Rosenbluth for its Fiftieth-anniversary basketball group and named him one of many 50 best athletes within the historical past of the convention. North Carolina retired his No. 10.

During the 2006-2007 faculty basketball season, Michael Jordan and James Worthy, who performed on the Tar Heel championship group of 1982, attended an occasion for North Carolina title groups. (*89*) thanked the gamers who introduced North Carolina to nationwide basketball prominence in 1957.

As Rosenbluth instructed it to The New York Times, “(*89*) have been saying issues like, ‘You guys bought all of it going.’”

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