Larry Costello

Lawrence Ronald "Larry" Costello (July 2, 1931 – December 13, 2001) was an American professional basketball player and coach. He was known as the National Basketball Association's last two-handed set shooter. After playing at Niagara University, he joined the Philadelphia Warriors in 1954. Two years later he was traded to the Syracuse Nationals. He retired in 1965 from the Philadelphia 76ers (the former Syracuse Nationals), but eventually came back for the 1966–67 NBA season after new head coach Alex Hannum told him he needed a veteran point guard. With 42 games into the season, Costello ripped his Achilles tendon on January 6, 1967 and was replaced by Wali Jones. He did, however, come back to participlate in the 1967 playoffs. Costello ended his career for the second and final time in 1968.

During his NBA career, Costello was selected to six NBA All-Star Games (playing in five). He led the league in free throw percentage in the 1962–63 and 1964–65 seasons.

Costello began his coaching career at East Syracuse-Minoa High School where he coached the boys varsity basketball team to the state championship for the first time in school history. He took over as head coach of the expansion team Milwaukee Bucks in 1968 and coached them to a league-best 66–16 mark in 1970–71 including a then-NBA record 20-game win streak. They won the championship in the post-season with a 4-0 sweep of the Baltimore Bullets. After a 3–15 start into the 1976–77 season, he was fired. He coached the Chicago Bulls for 56 games in 1978–79 before returning to Milwaukee to coach the Milwaukee Does of the Women's Professional Basketball League for part of the 1979–80 season.

Costello's last coaching job was at Utica College in the 1980s. The school was making the transition from Division III to Division I as an independent. Costello coached one season in Division III. In his second year in Division I, the Pioneers were the seventh most improved team in the country based on their won-loss record. He retired in 1987.

Costello appeared on NBA Live videogame series, as member of the 50s NBA Live Legend All-Stars Team.

Costello died on December 13, 2001 after battling cancer for more than a year.

Costello was featured in the book, Basketball History in Syracuse, Hoops Roots by author Mark Allen Baker published by The History Press in 2010. The book is an introduction to professional basketball in Syracuse and includes teams like (Vic Hanson's) All-Americans, the Syracuse Reds and the Syracuse Nationals (1946–1963).

  1. ^ BUCKS: Larry Costello, Bucks First Head Coach, Dies at Age 70

By Dean Hanley

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