Jan. 13, 1933 Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA
Jan. 26, 2014 Huntingdon Valley Montgomery County Pennsylvania, USA
Hall of Fame Professional Basketball Player, College Basketball Coach. One of the greatest basketball players to hail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gola has the distinction of experiencing the NIT (1952), NCAA (1954) and NBA Championship titles (1956). In 1952, he was named NIT (National Invitation Tournament) Co-MVP. He received Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year honors in 1954 and was named the 1954 NCAA Tournament MVP. He was named College Basketball Player of the Year in 1955 and achieved All-American status four-times. Born Thomas Joseph Gola, he initially made his presence felt on the hardwood floor while attending LaSalle High School in Philadelphia. His agility allowed for him to play any position on the court and under his leadership, LaSalle captured the City Catholic League title in 1950. He played collegiate basketball at LaSalle University and by the end of his years there, he held several school records. At the time of his death, he remained the NCAA leader in career rebounds with 2,201. LaSalle's arena was named in his honor in 1998. Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors as a territorial selection during the 1955 NBA Draft, he compiled 7,871 points, with 2,962 assists, in 698 regular season games. He played ten seasons (1955 to 1956 and 1957 to 1966) in the National Basketball Association at the shooting guard and small forward positions with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and New York Knicks. He missed the 1957-1958 season due to his service with the United States Military. He was a key member on the Warriors' NBA Championship squad during the 1955-1956 season and individually earned All-Star status five-times (1960 to 1964). After retiring as a player, he returned to LaSalle University and served as head coach of the Explorers for two-years (1968 to 1970). Gola went on to a lengthy career within the political arena. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and served as Philadelphia's City Controller. He launched an unsuccessful bid for Mayor of Philadelphia in 1983. He was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. He was named to the LaSalle Hall of Athletics and additionally, his uniform number 15 has been retired by the school. In 2003, he suffered a severe head injury from a fall and never fully recovered. (bio by: C.S.)
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Tom -- I just learned today of your passing in January 2014. When I covered your office from City Hall for WIP Radio, I knew you as a man of integrity and strong values -- not normally found in elected officials in my experience. You stand out in my mem...(Read more) -
Soljerblue Added: Mar. 5, 2015