A “sad and significant day” for college basketball took place Friday, Jan. 21, when Fran O’Hanlon announced his retirement after 27 years as coach at Lafayette College, writes John Feinstein for The Washington Post.
O’Hanlon, from Philadelphia, coached basketball at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill and played basketball at Villanova. As a college senior, he started in the backcourt with Chris Ford.
He was with the American Basketball Association for one season before playing overseas for 15 years. He came back in 1986 to coach at Bonner.
He started his coaching career with the Lafayette Leopards in 1995, one of the last non-scholarship college teams out there. .
The Leopards had gone 2-25 in 1995 and then went 19-9 in O’Hanlon’s third season.
Over the next two years, Lafayette won 22 and 24 games and won the Patriot League tournament twice, It made the NCAA tournament for the first and second times since 1957.
“His genius as a coach was his simplicity. He never over-coached. He knew what the kids needed to do to win, and he got them to buy into it,” said Fran Dunphy, former coach at Temple and University of Pennsylvania.
Read more at The Washington Post about the retirement of Coach Fran O’Hanlon.
Check out this January 2021 interview with Coach Fran O’Hanlon.