Monday, September 21, 2015

Paul Birch

Paul "Polly" V. Birch

January 4, 1910 
Homestead, PA

June 5, 1982
Pittsburgh, PA  

1932-33 Duquesne University (College)
1933-34 Duquesne University (College)
1934-35 Duquesne University (College)
1934-35 New York Celtics (Independent)
1935-36 New York Celtics (Independent)
1936-37 New York Celtics (Independent)
1937-38 New York Celtics (Independent)
1938-39 Pittsburgh Pirates (NBL)
1939-40 New York Celtics (Independent)
1940-41 New York Celtics (Independent)
1941-42 New York Celtics (Independent) 
1941-42 Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (NBL)
1942-43 Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (NBL)
1943-44 Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (NBL)
1944-45 Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (NBL)
1945-46 Youngstown Bears (NBL) - Player / Head Coach
1946-47 Pittsburgh (BAA) - Head Coach
1947-48 Youngstown Cubs (AAPBL) - Player / Head Coach
1950-51 Erie (AAPBL)
1951-52 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA) - Head Coach
1952-53 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA) - Head Coach
1953-54 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA) - Head Coach

A skilled player and Duquesne's first All-American, Birch garnered fame as a member of the New York Celtics barnstorming squad before playing in the NBL. He later became a successful coach for Fort Wayne before becoming persona non grata following the point-shaving scandal surrounding one of his players, Jack Molinas. His life in ruins, Birch descended into alcohol problems and domestic abuse. He was a short-tempered disciplinarian who was described by his son Richard as "Bobby Knight times 10." He was married to Florence, whose death from leukemia amplified Birch's bitterness.

Birch died in 1982.



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