Gary Colson, 3-point shot supporter, passes away at 89
LOS ANGELES– Gary Colson, who effectively lobbied to present the 3-point shot to college basketball throughout a 34-year coaching career that consisted of stops at Fresno State, New Mexico and Pepperdine, passed away Friday. He was 89.
He passed away of complications of lymphoma in the house in Santa Barbara, California, said buddy Bob Rose, who was informed by Colson’s wife.Colson had a profession win-loss record of 563-385 that included 10 seasons at Department II Valdosta State in Georgia starting at age 24. Colson belonged to the NCAA Rules Committee in 1986 when he looked for a straw vote from the members to see who favored including the 3-point shot. He stated he was discouraged by such associates as Norm Stewart, Digger Phelps, Gerald Myers and Gene Bartow from raising a vote.However, Colson went on, and the proposal passed. He also served on the NCAA Officiating Committee.In its first year, the 3-point shot– then 19 feet, 9 inches- was seldom utilized. It has actually progressed over the
years to its existing range of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches and is hugely influential in games.Colson coached future Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson and Luc Longley, who won 3 NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.He preceded Jerry Tarkanian at Fresno State, Dave Bliss at New Mexico and Jim Harrick at Pepperdine.Colson went 76-73 at Fresno State from 1990-95. He was 146-106 at New Mexico from 1980-88 and was 153-137 at Pepperdine from 1968-79. He began his head training profession at Valdosta State, where he was 188-69 from 1958-68 and
took the school to two appearances in the NAIA national tournament along with winning seven Georgia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.At Pepperdine, he
assisted the little Christian school to the 1976 West Coast Athletic Conference title, beating a San Francisco team that consisted of Costs Cartwright in the season’s final game. The Waves earned 2 NCAA Competition berths during his period. He was the league’s coach of the year in 1976 and was elected to the school’s athletic hall of fame in 1996. Colson likewise worked as athletic director at Pepperdine from 1971-75. He left Pepperdine in 1980 to take control of at New Mexico, which was reeling after a gambling scandal that resulted in the shooting of Norm Ellenberger and the program being placed on NCAA probation for 3 years.After probation ended in 1983, the Lobos balanced 21 wins over the next five seasons, getting approved for the NIT each of those years. In his last season, his team went 22-14 and beat No. 1 Arizona. Colson was the Western Athletic Conference coach of the year in 1984. Born in Logansport, Indiana, Colson graduated
from David Lipscomb in 1956 and made a master’s in education at Vanderbilt in 1958. He was an all-conference player at Lipscomb and was called the Volunteer State Athletic Conference MVP as a senior. He is in the school’s hall of fame.He later on worked as assistant to the president of the Memphis Grizzlies and searched for his longtime good friend, NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West.Colson authored the books”California Basketball”and”New Mexico Basketball-The System” about the principles of the game.He took a trip to Japan in 2012 and 2013 to provide clinics to young players.He is endured by his spouse, Mary Katherine; two children Rick and Wade; a daughter Garianne; four grandchildren; and 3 great-grandchildren.