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John Louis Castellani (born August 23, 1926) is an American attorney and a former basketball coach. He coached the Minneapolis Lakers in the NBA during the 1959–1960 season, their last before relocating to Los Angeles. Prior to his short coaching stint with the Lakers, Castellani was the head coach at Seattle University from 1956 to 1958, and took the Chieftains to the 12-team National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in his first year. With Elgin Baylor starring in his lineup, Castellani led the 1958 team to the NCAA title game in Louisville, Kentucky,[1] but lost 84–72 to the Kentucky Wildcats, led by head coach Adolph Rupp.[2]

John Castellani
Biographical details
Born (1926-08-23) August 23, 1926 (age 93)
New Britain, Connecticut
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame
Marquette University (J.D.)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
195x–1956Notre Dame (asst.)
1959–1960Minneapolis Lakers
Administrative career (AD unless noted)

Only a month after the championship game, NCAA violations came to light concerning airfare bought for recruits Ben Warley and George Finley. The result was that Castellani resigned under fire on April 21,[3] Baylor left for the NBA, and Seattle was given a two-year postseason ban.[4] Castellani returned to coaching for one year as head coach for the Lakers in the 1959–60 NBA season and again coached Baylor.

After he was released by the Lakers, he attended law school at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In practice for over a half century, he continues as an attorney in Milwaukee and can frequently be seen at Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Golden Eagles basketball games.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Seattle gains NCAA finals; to battle Kentucky tonight". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. March 22, 1958. p. 8.
  2. ^ ""Nothing wrong with 2d;" Seattle is beaten in finals". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. March 24, 1958. p. 18.
  3. ^ "Castellani quits at SU after penalty". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 22, 1958. p. 14.
  4. ^ Where Are They Now? John Castellani, Seattle U basketball coach
  5. ^ D'Amato, Gary (March 31, 2015). "'Coach' John Castellani prefers to live in the present". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved July 16, 2018.

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