Former Duke basketball coach and Hall of Famer Vic Bubas passed away Monday morning at the age of 91.
Bubas coached the Blue Devils for 10 seasons from 1960-69, compiling a 213-67 (.761) overall record and 106-32 (.768) in ACC play. By percentage, Bubas is the program’s second-winningest coach in the modern era behind Mike Krzyzewski (.786). He is third at Duke in total wins behind Krzyzewski (1,027-279) and Eddie Cameron (226-99).
“Duke Basketball lost a true legend earlier today,” said Krzyzewski. “When I first arrived at Duke, Coach Bubas gave me the best advice. Essentially, he told me to be myself and to focus solely on Duke, while not getting caught up in everything going on around us. We have tried to honor him over the years by playing a level of basketball that lived up to his very high standards, and to those of the program he built here in the 1960s. We offer our deepest sympathy to the Bubas family, particularly to his wife Tootie, as well as their friends and the multitude of great players who attended this university during Coach Bubas’ tenure. He was a terrific coach, and more importantly, a special leader who will be missed greatly.”
A three-time ACC Coach of the Year, Bubas guided Duke to its first four ACC Championship titles in 1960, 1963, 1964 and 1966. The Blue Devils were 11-4 in the NCAA Tournament under Bubas, reaching the Final Four three times in a four-year span between 1963 and 1966. Under Bubas, the Blue Devils garnered nine All-America honors, including three for Art Heyman, the 1963 National Player of the Year.
Bubas retired from coaching in 1969, moving into an administration role on campus and eventually becoming vice president of the university. In 1976, he became the first commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, a position he held for 14 years until his retirement. In 2007, Bubas was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Born in Gary, Indiana, Bubas played college basketball at Illinois and then NC State, where he was a two-time All-Southern Conference guard. Following his graduation in 1951, he served as an assistant coach for the Wolfpack before accepting Duke’s head coaching position in 1959.