Dan Baker | Steve Bilsky | Bill Bradley | David Calhoun
Bill Campbell | John Chaney | Greer Cheeseman | Chuck Daly
Don DiJulia | Fran Dunphy | Ed Fabricius | John Feinstein
Dan Harrell | Sonny Hill | Harry Kalas | Phil Martelli
Rollie Massimino | Al Meltzer | Doug Overton | Harvey Pollack
Bill Raftery | Dr. Jack Ramsay | Al Shrier | Ed Stenfanski
Dick Hoops Weiss | Bob Weinhauer | Dr. Eric Zillmer



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Dan Baker


Dan Baker spent 21 years broadcasting BIG 5 Basketball at The Palestra, starting in 1977, and 15 years as Executive Director of the Philadelphia BIG 5, starting in 1981. He is also well known to local sports fans as the longtime public address announcer for both the Philadelphia Phillies, for which he recently finished his 35th season, and the Philadelphia Eagles, for which he is presently working in his 22nd season.


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Steve Bilsky


Steve Bilsky was a three-time All-Ivy League guard who captained the nationally-ranked University of Pennsylvania Quaker basketball team, considered one of the all-time greatest Penn teams in basketball history, to a 28-1 record in 1970-71. For the past twenty-two years, Bilsky has served as the University of Pennsylvania Athletic Director. One of his greatest accomplishments for Penn basketball as the University’s AD was the conceptualization of “Palestra 2000”, a multi-million dollar renovation that turned the run down Palestra hallway of the 20th century into a living museum of Philadelphia basketball history.


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Senator Bill Bradley


Bill Bradley played for the Princeton University Tigers from 1961 to 1965, during which time he was a three-time All-American and the 1965 Player of the Year. In 1964, Bradley captained the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team. Not only one of The Palestra’s all-time greatest opponents, Bradley was a model student-athlete. He graduated from Princeton with honors and was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholar in Oxford. After completing his studies, Bradley went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NBA followed by an illustrious career in politics, including a run for the presidency in 2000 and an 18-year seat in the Senate. When James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891, Bill Bradley was the very type of player he envisioned.


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David "Corky" Calhoun

Corky Calhoun was a three-time All-Ivy League guard/forward for the University of Pennsylvania Quakers from 1969-1972. He lead the team in rebounds his senior year as a forward and was named All-American as a guard his senior season. Calhoun earned a first-round draft choice by the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels. His 8-years in the NBA is the longest professional career of any Penn basketball player in the school’s history.


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Bill Campbell


Bill Campbell, known to all sports fans as “The Dean”, is one of Philadelphia’s cherished Radio and TV Broadcasters. Campbell began his career in Philadelphia in 1946 as Sports Director at WCAU Radio (and later WCAU-TV), one of the first main stations to cover Big 5 basketball at The Palestra. Campbell was also the play-by-play broadcaster for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1950-1962, the play-by-play broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1962-1971, and Director of Broadcasting for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1972 to 1981, making him a true pioneer of broadcasting in the City of Brotherly Love.


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John Chaney


John Chaney is the former long-time coach of the Temple University Owls, an original member of the Philadelphia Big 5. A Big 5 Hall of Famer, Chaney took over the reins at Temple in 1982. Before retiring in 2006, he lead the Owls to 22 post season appearances, including 18 NCAA tournament appearances and 5 NCAA regional finals. He is the winningest coach in Atlantic 10 history and a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame.


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Greer Cheeseman


Greer Cheeseman has been the director of the ever-animated University of Pennsylvania pep band for the last 10 years. A 1977 University of Pennsylvania graduate and former member of the Penn band himself, Cheeseman has been involved in the organization that has filled the Palestra with enough noise to blow its roof off for over 30 years.


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Chuck Daly


Chuck Daly is one of the most illustrious coaches to have graced the Palestra hardwood. He began his coaching career in Philadelphia with the University of Pennsylvania Quakers from 1971-1977. During that time, he led the Quakers to four consecutive Ivy League titles and NCAA appearances from 1972-1975, as well as two consecutive NCAA East Regional finals appearances in 1971 and 1972. Daly entered the NBA ranks in 1978 with the Philadelphia 76ers as an assistant coach and would go on to a 14-year head coaching career, which included two NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons. A member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, Daly was selected in 1997 as one of the NBA’s “Ten Greatest Coaches” of the league’s first 50 years.


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Don DiJulia


Don DiJulia is a former member of the Saint Joseph’s basketball squad, class of 1967. Following successful stints as commissioner of the East Coast Conference and the MAAC, DiJulia returned to his alma mater to take the reigns as Athletic Director, a position he still holds today.


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Fran Dunphy


Fran Dunphy has a been a part of the Palestra scene for the better part of his career in basketball. A 1970 graduate of LaSalle University, Dunphy helped lead the Explores to a 23-1 record his junior season and co-captained the team his senior year under the tutelage of then head coach, the legendary Tom Gola. Dunphy’s tenure as one of Philadelphia’s most beloved area coaches began in 1989 when he was named head coach of the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. His squads won an unprecedented 48 straight Ivy League games and four league titles from 1992 to 1996. His 1993-94 team posted a 25-3 record and earned a Number 25 ranking in the CNN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, the program's first such ranking since the 1978-79 campaign. After 17 years at the Quaker helm, Dunphy was named the 17th head men’s coach at Temple University on April 10th, 2006. He is the first person to serve as the head men’s basketball coach at two Philadelphia Big 5 institutions.


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Ed Fabricius


Ed Fabricius was the sports editor for the University of Pennsylvania’s highly touted periodical The Daily Pennsylvanian at the time during the formation of the Philadelphia Big 5 in 1955. While members of the Penn Athletics department were busy convincing the four other major colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area of the potential of this round-robin relationship, Fabricius was responsible for getting the Penn student body on board via the University’s sports publications. Soon after graduating from Penn in 1955, Fabricius was Sports Information Director, a job he held well into the 1960s. During that time, he helped negotiate the start up of WPHL-TV Channel 17’s television broadcasts of Philadelphia Big 5 basketball, a program that would go on to unprecedented success.


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John Feinstein


John Feinstein is one of the most distinguished sports authors in the country. A 1977 graduate of Duke University, he worked at the Washington Post for eleven years as both a political and sports reporter. He has also worked at Sports Illustrated and at the National Sports Daily. Among his many accomplishments, Feinstein has authored dozens of sports books including bestselling titles A Season on the Brink, A Good Walk Spoiled, A Civil War, The Last Amateurs, and The Punch. In 1989, he released A Season Inside: One Year in College Basketball, which examined the great venues and stories of college basketball, with special recognition of the Palestra and its place in hoops history. Feinstein is currently a commentator for National Public Radio and Sporting News Radio and is an essayist for CBS Sports. In addition, he writes columns for AOL and Golf Magazine, and contributes to the Washington Post.


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Dan Harrell


Dan Harrell is one of the most recognizable characters of The Palestra today. Housekeeper of the storied gymnasium, Harrell has kept the ancient building in tip-top, sparkling shape for over seventeen years. A true lifelong Philadelphian, Harrell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 from the College of General Studies, finally fulfilling a dream he had put on hold when he graduated from West Catholic High School in 1962. No one has a more intimate relationship with college basketball’s most historic gym, or more interesting stories to tell of the spirit and essence of the building, than Dan Harrell.


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Sonny Hill


Sonny Hill is the founder of the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League, the heartbeat of Philadelphia Basketball. Known by some as “the man with the 30-hour day”, Hill has been running the highly touted league for 38 years. During that time, his program has mentored a large number of Philadelphia’s highly successful young ballplayers, many of whom went on to stellar collegiate careers and, in several cases, NBA stardom. Attending high school in Philadelphia during the late 1940s and early 1950s, Hill spent a good part of his young adulthood sneaking into the Palestra to play ball with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Guy Rodgers, Hal Lear and John Chaney. Such experiences made him a lifelong fan of Palestra basketball and the traditions it has housed for nearly eight decades.


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Harry Kalas


Harry Kalas is one of Philadelphia’s most legendary broadcasters. He got his start working in the City of Brotherly Love in 1971 as the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies. Thirty-five years later, he has now broadcast over 5,000 Phillies games resulting in a love affair between this broadcasting icon and the Phillies fans that is unmatched anywhere else in the country. Soon after he arrived in Philadelphia, Kalas also joined the television broadcasting team of Al Meltzer and WPHL-17. The handful of years he spent broadcasting Big 5 basketball at The Palestra gave him a taste for the Philadelphia spirit that would enable him to become one of the city’s most beloved broadcast pioneers. Today, Kalas continues his reign as one of the great contributors to American sports as the voice of “Inside the NFL”, a nationally syndicated program from NFL Films.


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Phil Martelli


Phil Martelli is one of Philadelphia’s most noted college basketball figures and the current installment in the long line of very successful head basketball coaches for Saint Joseph’s University. Martelli has lead the Hawks program for the past twelve years, in which time he was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year on four occasions and was named the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2004 for leading the heroic rags-to-riches squad to an undefeated season and final four appearance this city will not soon forget. Martelli began his career on Hawk Hill as an assistant in 1985. Since taking over the helm in 1995, he has shown a strong commitment to honoring the once widely beloved tradition of Philadelphia Basketball by choosing the Palestra as his team’s home court during the annual round-robin Big 5 match-ups.


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Rollie Massimino


Rollie Massimino is the one of the great coaches in Philadelphia Basketball history. A native of New York, Massimino got his start coaching in Philadelphia and at the Palestra after being hired by future Naismith Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly as his assistant at Penn in 1971. For two consecutive years, Massimino helped lead the Quakers to the Sweet 16 before being named the head Coach at Villanova University in 1973. For nearly twenty years he led the Villanova Wildcats to unprecedented success including the highly improbable upset of top-seeded Georgetown University in the 1985 NCAA Tournament Final. To this day, he remains the only coach in Philadelphia Big 5 history to tab a national championship to his resume.


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Al Meltzer


“Big Al” Meltzer is one of Philadelphia’s most beloved broadcast pioneers. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1966, joining the WPHL-TV crew as sports director and weekday sportscaster. Lead commentator for Channel 17, Meltzer was the corner stone to the immediate success of the station’s radio and television take over of Palestra basketball during the mid 1960s. For nearly a decade, Meltzer colored the airwaves of Big 5 basketball in what would eventually become the most hallowed halls of college hoops. His work in The Palestra with Channel 17 laid the groundwork for the onset of national broadcast companies such as ESPN, CBS, ABC, and many more. Today he continues to provide his unique and instantly recognizable voice and camera presence to many production pieces on college basketball in Philadelphia.


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Doug Overton


Doug Overton was a stand out guard for LaSalle University, who’s successful record-setting collegiate career with the Explorers, including three consecutive All-Big 5 and All-MAC first team honors from 1988-1991, afforded him an 11-year professional career and recent induction in the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame. A Philadelphia native, Overton was a regular spectator and avid fan of Palestra double-headers while growing up. It was these frequent trips that developed his love for the game and inspired him to become a part of the Philadelphia basketball tradition. Overton currently serves as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s University, a position he took over in May of 2006.


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Harvey Pollack


Known by the greater Philadelphia sports community as “Super Stat”, Harvey Pollack is the ever-precise Director of Statistical Information for the Philadelphia 76ers. Pollack is not only a true master of the trade, but the originator of many of the stat lines used by every team in basketball today. Now nearing his 85th birthday, he is the only individual who worked in the NBA in its inaugural 1946-47 season to still be working for an NBA team today. A native of Camden, NJ, Pollack’s statistical methods have guided stat crews for all the colleges and universities throughout the reign of the Philadelphia Big 5, a large majority of them at The Palestra


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Bill Raftery


Bill Raftery is a former star member of the LaSalle University basketball team. He played three seasons under legendary coach Donald “Dudley” Moore, leading the team in scoring during his sophomore year, and co-captaining the Explorers to the National Invitational Tournament his senior year. His outstanding college play earned him a pick in the NBA draft by the New York Knicks after graduation. For the past 24 years, Raftery has been a very successful member of the CBS Sports Team as an analyst for CBS Sports College basketball coverage. He also serves as an analyst for CBS Radio/Westwood One’s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Final Four, and as an analyst for college basketball on ESPN.


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Dr. Jack Ramsay


Jack Ramsay, known simply as “Dr. Jack”, is arguably the greatest coach to have graced the Palestra floor in Philadelphia Big 5 history, and, without question, one of the all-time great coaches of the NBA. Ramsay got his start head coaching at the collegiate level with Saint Joseph’s University starting in 1955, coincidentally coinciding with the first season of the Philadelphia Big 5. From 1955 to 1966, Ramsay guided the Hawks to a record of 234-72, seven Big 5 Championships and ten postseason appearances, including finishing third nationally in 1965. In the NBA, Ramsay led both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Buffalo Braves to the playoffs in three of his four years as head coach from 1968-1972 and 1972-1976 respectively, led the Portland Trail Blazers to an NBA Championship in 1977, followed by nine playoff appearances over the next ten years, and concluded his illustrious career with the Indiana Pacers from 1986-1987. When he retired, he had the second most wins in NBA history, second only to Hall of Fame Coach Red Auerbach. Jack Ramsay was unanimously inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1992.


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Al Shrier


Al Shrier is the most decorated collegiate public relations professional in the history of Philadelphia athletics. An alumnus of Temple University, Shrier has been a part of Temple’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics since he graduated in 1953. In 1955, when the five major colleges and universities in Philadelphia decided to form the Philadelphia Big 5 and bring all of their match-ups to the Palestra floor, Shrier was integral in bringing the city’s vast pool of media members together to follow the hopeful development of the new round-robin format. He has been a fixture of Big 5 basketball at the Palestra ever since.


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Ed Stenfanski


Ed Stefanski is a former stand out shooting guard for the University of Pennsylvania. A 1976 graduate, Stefanski played three seasons for legendary Naismith Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly in which time he helped lead the Quakers to two Ivy League Championships. Less than three years after graduating, Stefanski returned to the most hallowed halls of college hoops that he once called home to begin a 20-year run as a color analyst, including 10 years broadcasting Big 5 basketball at the Palestra with PRISM sports, and 11 seasons as an Atlantic 10 color analyst on ESPN. From 1988 to 1999, he continued his career with the New Jersey Nets as a play-by-play broadcaster alongside such greats as Harry Kalas, Mike Breen and Bruce Beck. Stefanski currently serves as the General Manager of the New Jersey Nets, a position he has held since 2004.


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Bob Weinhauer


Bob Weinhauer is the legendary coach of the University of Pennsylvania’s 1979 Final Four “Cinderella” team. Weinhauer arrived on Penn’s campus as an assistant to future Naismith Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly in 1973, shortly after the departure of Rollie Massimino, who had been named the new head coach of Villanova University following the 1972-73 season. For four years, Weinhauer helped lead the Quakers during some of their most dominant years in school history, before being named interim head coach upon Chuck Daly’s resignation to pursue a career in the professional ranks. Penn’s decision to keep Weinhauer on board was quickly rewarded when two seasons later his squad made it to the Final Four, a feat no other Penn team had accomplished, nor have since. Though Weinhauer left Philadelphia to head up the Arizona State Devils in 1982, and would eventually enter into professional coaching as well, he still credits much of his success to the ten years he spent learning the game coaching on the Palestra floor.


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Dick Hoops Weiss


Known by many as “Hoops” Weiss, Dick is a renowned, award-winning sportswriter for the New York Daily News. Weiss is the past president of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and current president of the College Football Writers of America. He has coauthored books with legendary college coaches Rick Patino and John Calipari, as well as Dick Vitale, the most recognizable commentator in college basketball. Weiss’ true love for the game of basketball began during his days in Philadelphia where he covered Big 5 college hoops at the Palestra for the Philadelphia Daily News for 19 years. He takes pride in the fact that for a period of 7 to 8 years while he covered college basketball in Philadelphia during its heyday, he never missed a game in the arena he is credited with coining as the “The Palestra: Cathedral of Basketball”.


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Dr. Eric Zillmer

Eric Zillmer is a Professor of Neuropsychology and Director of Athletics at Drexel University. Zillmer has written extensively in the area of sports psychology having published more than 100 journals, articles, book chapters, and books on the subject, and is a frequent contributor to the local and national media on sports psychology related topics. An avid college basketball fan and Palestra historian, Zillmer takes great pride in working just blocks away from the storied arena, and offers some very interesting insights on the Greek origins of the building and explanations for its vast success.


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