Ward Lambert

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Ward "Piggy" Lambert
Sport(s)Basketball
Biographical details
Born(1888-05-28)May 28, 1888
Deadwood, South Dakota, U.S.
DiedJanuary 20, 1958(1958-01-20) (aged 69)
Playing career
1909–1911Wabash College
Position(s)Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1916–1917
1918–1946
Purdue
Purdue
Head coaching record
Overall371–152
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
1932 National Championship
11 Big Ten Championships
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1960
 
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Ward "Piggy" Lambert
Sport(s)Basketball
Biographical details
Born(1888-05-28)May 28, 1888
Deadwood, South Dakota, U.S.
DiedJanuary 20, 1958(1958-01-20) (aged 69)
Playing career
1909–1911Wabash College
Position(s)Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1916–1917
1918–1946
Purdue
Purdue
Head coaching record
Overall371–152
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
1932 National Championship
11 Big Ten Championships
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1960

Ward Louis "Piggy" Lambert (May 28, 1888 – January 20, 1958) was an American college men's basketball coach. He was born in Deadwood, South Dakota. In 1890, Lambert and his family moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana. He played basketball (in addition to baseball) at Crawfordsville High School and Wabash College, both under coach Ralph Jones, who himself would go on to coach Purdue. Despite his height (5'6"), he led Wabash in scoring his sophomore year - leading to his nickname "Piggy" for hogging the ball. (Another telling states that, while playing baseball at Wabash, Lambert used his position as shortstop to hog the ball). He graduated from Wabash College in 1911.

Lambert began his coaching career at Lebanon High School from 1912-1916.[1] Lambert coached Purdue University (1916–17, 1918–46) to a 371–152 record in 29 seasons, including eleven Big Ten titles. His teams were noted for their speed and effective use of fast breaks, which he developed. Among his players were Charles "Stretch" Murphy and John Wooden. Lambert missed the 1917-18 season to serve in the Army during World War I. Meanwhile J. J. Maloney, an attorney from Crawfordsville, Indiana, filled in and guided the Boilermakers to an 11–5 record. Lambert's 1932 team were national champions, as determined by a panel vote rather than an NCAA Tournament which began in 1939. He coached 16 All-Americans and 31 first team All-Big Ten selections. Lambert Fieldhouse (originally known as Purdue Fieldhouse), the facility used for home basketball games prior to the construction of Mackey Arena, was renamed in his honor.

Lambert also coached Purdue's baseball team in 1917, from 1919 to 1935 and from 1945 to 1946. Lambert Field, Purdue's former baseball stadium, is also named for Lambert.[2] He was listed as a scout for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball in 1948.[3]


Following his retirement from Purdue, he served as Commissioner of the National Basketball League during the final three years (1946–49) of that league's tenure and was instrumental in its merger with the Basketball Association of America to form the National Basketball Association.

Lambert wrote Practical Basketball in 1932, one of the first "bibles" of the game. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.

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