Marv Kessler, a longtime basketball guru and coach who preached on the fundamentals of the game over a career that spanned 50 years with high school, college, and the NBA, passed away at the age of 82.
Kessler was diagnosed with cancer many years ago and passed away on Wednesday at the NYU Medical Center, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Kessler attended North Caroline State, where he graduated in 1958 after he played on the basketball team for three seasons. He went on to coach at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens, New York, before he became head coach at Adelphi University on Long Island in 1978.
He began his association with the NBA in 1981 where he served as an advance scout for Detroit, Washington, Portland, and Sacramento. He eventually developed a reputation as a speaker at clinics. He utilized both humor and fundamentals to get his point across and was celebrated nationwide.
Fordham coach Tom Pecora said Saturday that:
“I’ve known Marv for 40 years, since I was 14. His creative thinking and sense of humor when it came to basketball were what made him so special to me and so many others. What he was able to do is unparalleled.”
The Washington Post notes that Marv Kessler was from basketball’s old-school, stressing preparation and discipline. He often spoke about the importance of looking for an opponent’s weakness and constantly goaded his players to be better, even berating him if he thought it would help them grow.
Over the past 20 years, Kessler created a new career for himself. He was hired as a consultant by many college and NBA coaches. He would attend their practices, then suggest ways the team could become more effective. The basketball coach was inducted into Adelphi’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
Marv Kessler is survived by his wife Irene, and his daughters Andrea and Gayle. His memorial service will take place on Sunday at 10 am at Sinai Chapel in Flushing, New York.