Former UConn basketball coach dies at 90  

Fred Shabel was a former head coach for the UConn Men’s basketball team and he recently passed away. Read more to find out about his time at UConn. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Fred Shabel, a former head coach for the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team, died Sunday at his home in Clearwater, Fla. He was 90 years-old, according to a release from UConn Athletics Communications.  

Known for leading the team to three total appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Shabel served as head coach from 1963-1967, according to the Hartford Courant. He left his assistant job at Duke University, where he had been working for six years, for the coach position at UConn.  

Shabel’s filled in after coach Hugh Greer’s sudden death during the middle of the 1962-1963 season, UConn Athletics said.  

After a year of Shabel’s coaching, the men’s basketball team earned a spot in the 1964 NCAA Tournament, according to the release.  

“He enjoyed immediate success with the Huskies, capturing the Yankee Conference co-championship and beating Rhode Island, 61-60, to secure a berth in the 1964 NCAA Tournament,” the release states. “In the tournament, Shabel’s Huskies defeated Temple and Princeton — which featured All-American Bill Bradley — to advance to the Final 8 before bowing to Duke, Shabel’s former team as well as his alma mater.”  

Shabel and his team went on to appear at the NCAA Tournament twice more, once in 1964 and again in 1967. In 1964, the team tied its previous 23-2 regular-season record, according to the release.  

After his four seasons as head coach, Shabel retired from coaching and later on became the athletic director at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served until 1975. Soon after, he was appointed as vice president for operations of the university.  

Under Shabel’s coaching, the UConn men’s basketball team compiled a 72-79 record, according to UConn Athletics. The record corresponds to a 0.713 winning percentage that “ranks [Shabel] in the top five among UConn head coaches.”  

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