Cazzie Lee Russell (born
June 7, 1944 in Chicago,
Illinois) is a former
pro basketball player and
played college basketball at the
Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten Conference titles (1964-66) and
to Final Four appearances in 1964
losing in the final game 91-80 to defending national champion UCLA
and John Wooden.
In 1966, Russell averaged 30.8 points per
game and was named the College Basketball Player of the Year.
Crisler Arena, which opened in 1967, has been dubbed The
House that Cazzie Built.
Russell's number 33 jersey has
been retired by the Wolverines.
Russell spent twelve seasons in the NBA
), and is best remembered for his
five seasons with the New York
). Russell was the NBA's first draft
pick in 1966, and was named to the 1967 All-Rookie Team
. He was later part of
the famous 1970
Knicks team that
won the NBA championship over the Los
. Russell played in the 1972 NBA All-Star Game
while with the
Golden State Warriors
In 1981, he returned to pro basketball as a coach in the Continental Basketball
for the Lancaster (Pa.) Lightning. He guided his
team to that league championship that season. During the playoffs,
with his team depleted by injuries, Russell came out of retirement
and played for the Lightning in the final game of the league
championship series, played in Lancaster, PA.
During the 1960's while with the Knicks, Russell was part of the
New York Army National
's Fighting 69th
Regiment. As of the 2007-2008 basketball season, Russell is in his
12th season as head coach of the men’s basketball team at the
Savannah College of
Art and Design