Tom Gola

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Tom Gola
No. 15, 6
Small forward / Guard
Personal information
Born(1933-01-13) January 13, 1933 (age 79)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
NationalityAmerican
High schoolLa Salle
(Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania)
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
CollegeLa Salle (1951-1955)
NBA Draft1955 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors
Pro career1955–1966
Career history
19551962Philadelphia / San Francisco Warriors
1962–1966New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points7,871 (11.3 ppg)
Rebounds5,417 (7.8 rpg)
Assists2,962 (4.2 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
 
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Tom Gola
No. 15, 6
Small forward / Guard
Personal information
Born(1933-01-13) January 13, 1933 (age 79)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
NationalityAmerican
High schoolLa Salle
(Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania)
Listed height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
CollegeLa Salle (1951-1955)
NBA Draft1955 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors
Pro career1955–1966
Career history
19551962Philadelphia / San Francisco Warriors
1962–1966New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points7,871 (11.3 ppg)
Rebounds5,417 (7.8 rpg)
Assists2,962 (4.2 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Tom Gola
Philadelphia City Controller
In office
January 5, 1970 – January 7, 1974
Preceded byAlexander Hemphill
Succeeded byWilliam Klenk
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 170th district
In office
January 7, 1969 – January 5, 1970
Preceded byDistrict Created
Succeeded byAlvin Katz
Personal details
Political partyRepublican

Thomas Joseph "Tom" Gola (born January 13, 1933, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a retired American basketball player.

Contents

Early life

Gola was praised as a great all-around player as a high school student at La Salle College High School, where he led the Explorers to a Philadelphia Catholic League Championship. He entered La Salle a year after another Philadelphia basketball Hall of Famer, Paul Arizin, graduated from Villanova.

La Salle

Gola was one of the most talented collegiate athletes in Philadelphia sports history. He came to national attention while playing for the hometown La Salle University Explorers men's basketball team in 1954 as an All-American forward. Gola paced the Explorers to the NCAA basketball championship in 1954 and was named Tournament MVP. That same season he was selected as National Player of the Year. As a senior, Gola helped La Salle finish as the runner-up in the 1955 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 20.9 points and 19.0 rebounds during 115 games and holds the NCAA record with 2,201 career rebounds. At 6'6" (198 cm), Gola was clearly a forward who could shoot/score, rebound and defend, but he also had the ballhandling (dribbling, passing) skills of a guard, and with his shooting range and All-Pro defensive skills, could play just as well in the backcourt. He was inducted into the La Salle Hall of Athletes in 1961 and the Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1986. Gola was listed on "ESPN's Countdown to the Greatest" College basketball players as #17.

NBA

After a phenomenal college career, Gola turned pro with the Philadelphia Warriors as a territorial draft pick. He teamed with All-Pros Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston to lead the Warriors to NBA championship in 1956. He gained praise for concentrating on defense, passing and rebounding and allowing the other two to be the chief scorers during these years.

In 1959, Johnston temporarily retired due to a knee injury and the Warriors added seven-foot superstar Wilt Chamberlain. Again sacrificing himself for his team, Gola helped the Warriors back to the NBA Finals, but they could not beat the star-studded Boston Celtics during his seasons in the early 1960s with Chamberlain.

Gola played with the New York Knicks from 1962 to 1966. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 26, 1976.

Return to La Salle

In 1968, he returned to his alma mater as head coach, leading the Explorers to a 37-13 record during his two-year stay. He was named Coach of the Year by Philadelphia and New York journalists. He led the Explorers to a 23-1 record during the 1968-69 season, but La Salle had been barred from the NCAA Tournament before the season because an alumnus had offered some players "no-show" jobs. The school's Tom Gola Arena was named after him.

Political career

In 1968, Gola was elected to the Pennsylvania State House, representing the Northeast Philadelphia-based 170th District. A change to the State Constitution made earlier that year had reorganized State House seats into legislative districts, replacing the old system of allotting seats on an at-large, county-wide basis. This made Gola the first person to represent the newly-created district. Ultimately, Gola would not finish-out his first term in the House, opting instead to seek the office of Philadelphia City Controller in 1969. He scored an 80,000 vote victory over Democrat Charles Peruto in the general election, and took office the following January. Gola was defeated, however, in his bid for a second term in 1973 by Democrat William Klenk. His defeat was part of a broader setback for Republicans in the city that year, as Arlen Specter lost his bid for a third term as District Attorney.[1] Gola made his final attempt at elected office in 1983, when he sought the office of Mayor. However, he came in last in the three-man field Republican primary, behind Congressman Charlie Dougherty and the winner, John Egan, who went on to lose the fall general election to Wilson Goode.[2]

Personal

Gola was married to Caroline in June 1955, and they had one son.

College basketball achievements

Pro basketball achievements

See also

References

External links

Political offices
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
District Created
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 170th District
1969–1970
Succeeded by
Alvin Katz
Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Hemphill
Philadelphia City Controller
1970–1974
Succeeded by
William Klenk