Marv Kessler, who had a basketball coaching career that spanned 50 years and covered high school, college and the NBA, died on Wednesday after losing his fight to cancer. He was 82 years old.
Kessler was diagnosed with cancer several years ago and took his final breaths at the NYU medical center.
Kessler graduated from North Carolina State in 1958, where he played in the college basketball team for three years.
He started his coaching career by coaching at Martin Van Buren High School in his home borough of Queens. He was then named as the head coach of the Adelphi University in Long Island in 1972, and led the team to an 88-60 record over six seasons.
Kessler then took an offer to become the assistant coach at Davidson from 1979-81, after which he started his career in the NBA with scouting positions for Detroit, Washington, Portland and Sacramento.
Apart from his coaching skills, Kessler was a well known and respected figure at basketball clinics, giving lectures on the game. He was from the old school of basketball, emphasizing on discipline and fundamentals.
“I’ve known Marv for 40 years, since I was 14. His creative thinking and sense of humour 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,” said Fordham coach Tom Pecora on Saturday.
Over the past two decades, Kessler became a consultant travelling to different colleges as well as NBA teams to attend their practices and suggest ways for them to become more effective.
His knowledge of the game along with his ability to mix learning with fun, having a great sense of humour, made him famous not only in the coaching circles, but also among basketball camp and basketball clinics organizers. He is still remembered for his days with the famous Five Star Basketball Camp.
Kessler is survived by his wife Irene, and his two daughters Andrea and Gayle. His funeral services took place on Sunday at the Sinai Chapel in Flushing, which were attended by close friends and family.