Legendary NMU Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Albeck Passes Away

Courtesy of NMU

MARQUETTE, Mich — Stan Albeck, one of the most successful men’s basketball coaches in Northern Michigan University history, passed away Thursday at the age of 89.

Albeck was the head coach of the Wildcats from 1957-68 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) era of the men’s basketball program.

The coach came to Marquette after leading the Adrian College program for a season. In just his fourth year on campus Albeck coached the Wildcats to the NAIA Semifinal in Kansas City in 1961. NMU lost to Lawrence Tech but secured third place in the tournament with a consolation game win over Carson Newman.

Another notable achievement in 1961 was the Wildcats’ 79-71 win over the Michigan State Spartans. Coach Albeck’s towel from that contest, which then Student Council President Roger Labonte had the score embroidered on, can be seen in a display case inside the PEIF.

Looking at his Wildcat coaching career as a whole, Albeck secured an overall record of 178-77 over 11 years. His winning percentage of .698 is the most of any NMU men’s basketball coach who coached over 30 games. He won the 1960 and 1964 Michigan Coach of the Year and coached 10 NAIA All-America winners, four Associated Press All-America honorees, as well as one UPI All-America winner and one Converse All-America winning student-athlete.

Albeck was named to the Northern Michigan University Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. After leaving NMU, Albeck had a successful NBA and ABA head coaching career which featured stints with the Denver Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, New Jersey Nets, and Chicago Bulls. He also spent more time on the collegiate sidelines at his alma mater Bradley University and the University of Denver.

Coach Albeck and his wife Phyllis had five children.