Sports

Roxana native, NBA great, longtime coach Harry Gallatin dies

Harry Gallatin waves to the Vadalabene Center crowd during an introduction in 2009. A seven-time NBA All-Star, Gallatin served as the first athletic diretor at SIUE and was a longtime golf coach.
Harry Gallatin waves to the Vadalabene Center crowd during an introduction in 2009. A seven-time NBA All-Star, Gallatin served as the first athletic diretor at SIUE and was a longtime golf coach.

Roxana native Harry Gallatin, a former NBA All-Star, professional and college coach, and the first athletics director at Southern Illiniois University Edwardsville, died Wednesday at the age of 88.

A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame, the Truman State University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame, the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and the SIU Salukis Hall of Fame.

Gallatin also was a veteran of World War II.

At SIUE, Gallatin’s career included three seasons as the men’s basketball coach and 24 as the men’s golf coach. He served as the school’s director of athletics from 1967 to 1972. Gallatin was a member of SIUE Athletics inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2005.

“The greater metropolitan region, Edwardsville and especially SIUE has lost a genuine and humble giant’ of a man today,” SIUE Director of Athletics Dr. Brad Hewitt said. “So kind, so unassuming; yet he had such a powerful impact on so many. Much has been written about Harry’s life, his wonderful careers and the people he has touched. Some of the most famous people in the world of sports have praised this man. He deserves much more.”

Harry Gallatin ranks fourth all-time on the Knicks rebounding list with 5,935 rebounds. On the final night of the 1952-53 season, Gallatin hauled in 33 rebounds against the Fort Wayne Pistons, a Knicks record that still stands.

Gallatin played 10 seasons in the NBA for the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons and was a seven-time All-Star. He was an All-NBA first team selection in 1954, after leading the league in rebounding with 15.3 per game. He was an All-NBA second team pick in 1955.

He currently ranks fourth all-time on the Knicks rebounding list with 5,935 rebounds. On the final night of the 1952-53 season, Gallatin hauled in 33 rebounds against the Fort Wayne Pistons, a Knicks record which still stands.

Harry “The Horse” Gallatin is perhaps best known for his workmanship, never missing a game or practice in his career. He played 610 consecutive games with the Knicks, a record which also remains to this day.

During his career, Gallatin collected 8,843 points and 6,684 rebounds.

The greater metropolitan region, Edwardsville and especially SIUE has lost a genuine and humble giant of a man today. So kind, so unassuming; yet he had such a powerful impact on so many.

Brad Hewitt, SIUE Director of Athletics

Following his playing career, Gallatin moved to the coaching ranks. From 1958-1962, he amassed a 79-36 record as the head coach of the SIU Salukis. Among SIU head coaches, only Chris Lowery won more games in his first four seasons. Gallatin's teams were the first in school history to make the small-college NCAA Tournament doing so in 1959, 1960 and 1961.

"The basketball program was in the doldrums when he came to Southern, and he was a very forward-thinking coach," recalled long-time SIU administrator Harold Bardo, who played for Gallatin. "Everything they did with the Knicks we did. I think our style of play was very pleasing to the fans. The guy was a competitor. He'd play against us and teach us tricks that he'd learned in the pros. He got along well with people, and always had a laugh and a smile on his face."

Gallatin also led the St. Louis Hawks from 1962-1965 and the New York Knicks during the 1965-1966 season. He earned the NBA Coach of the Year Award following the 1962-63 season. He was 148-131 during his career as a head coach.

In 1973, Gallatin became SIUE’s men’s golf coach, leading the team to 18 NCAA Division II Championship appearances and producing multiple All-Americans. The 1983 men’s golf team was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.

The native of Roxana remained an avid supporter of SIUE athletics until his death. Gallatin could be seen at most home basketball games and numerous athletics department events. Gallatin started SIUE’s men’s basketball program in 1967 and coached the Cougars for three seasons.

Enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1991, Gallatin was inducted into Madison Square Garden’s Walk of Fame in May 2015.

148-131 Record as a head basketball coach during a career that included stints with SIU Carbondale, the St. Louis Hawks, the New York Knicks and SIU Edwardsville.

“Harry not only was a great husband and great father to his own children, he was a father, mentor and leader to hundreds of other young man for more than seven decades,” Hewitt added.

The visitation will be Friday, Oct. 9 from 3–8 p.m. at Weber & Rodney Funeral Home in Edwardsville. The funeral service will be Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Edwardsville.

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