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Tom Nissalke

Tom Nissalke
Born Thomas Edward Nissalke
(1932-07-07) July 7, 1932 (age 83)
Madison, Wisconsin
Occupation NCAA collegiate and NBA coach, sportscaster, sports executive
Years active 1956-1985 as coach, 1993-94 as Commissioner, National Basketball League (Canada)
1985-2010, as Utah Jazz radio commentator
Spouse(s) Nancy, 1960-2006 (her death)
Children Thamas Jr., Cassidy Holly, with one grandchild, Caroline Anne
Awards Coaching staff, 1971 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks
1971-72 ABA Coach Of The Year, Dallas Chaparrals
1976-77 NBA Coach Of The Year, Houston Rockets

Thomas Edward "Tom" Nissalke (born July 7, 1932) is a retired former American professional basketball coach in the NBA and American Basketball Association. He has coached several teams in both leagues, and has an overall coaching record of 371-508.

Coaching career

After a season with the then-Dallas Chaparrals (where he won ABA coach of the Year), Nissalke moved to the NBA with the Sonics for one season. He returned to the team, now in San Antonio, in 1973, bringing with him "a patterned, deliberate offense to San Antonio". During his tenure, the "Iceman" George Gervin had arrived from the Virginia Squires and was the center of the team. Though Nissalke's club was successful, he was fired in the beginning of the 1974–75 ABA season. Nissalke, who is a graduate of Florida State University, first got his start in coaching on the high school-prep level at the Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He later worked his way onto the college ranks at the University of Wisconsin and Tulane.

Early pro coaching career

Nissalke then went to Utah with the ABA's Stars, but the club folded, surprisingly, at mid-season in the ABA's last hurrah in 1975–76. According to Remember the ABA, he has the final game ball in his closet.

Later coaching career

Nissalke later coached the then other existing Texas professional basketball team, the NBA's Houston Rockets (winning another Coach of the Year in the NBA in 76–77), followed by the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, retiring in 1985.

Nissalke holds the rare distinction of being named "Coach of the Year" in both the NBA and the ABA. He was also the commissioner of the short-lived National Basketball League in Canada in 1993–94.

Family life and personal

Nissalke presently works as a radio pregame and halftime analyst and talk-show host for the Utah Jazz on 1320 KFAN. In January 2006, his wife of 46 years, Nancy, who also was a native of Madison, Wisconsin, died, succumbing to cancer. Together they had two children, son Thomas Jr., and daughter Holly, as well as two granddaughters Caroline Anne and Isabelle Grace.


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Preceded by
Bucky Buckwalter
Utah Stars head coach
Succeeded by
Team folded