Peter Joseph Carril (/kəˈrɪl/; July 10, 1930 – August 15, 2022) was an American basketball coach. He is best known as head coach of Princeton University for 30 years and for his use of the "Princeton offense". He also coached at Lehigh University and as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Pete Carril
Princeton men's basketball coach Pete Carril
Personal information
Born(1930-07-10)July 10, 1930
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedAugust 15, 2022(2022-08-15) (aged 92)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Career information
CollegeLafayette (1948–1952)
Coaching career1954–2011
Career history
As coach:
1954–1958Easton HS (JV)
1958–1966Reading HS
1996–2002Sacramento Kings (assistant)
2003–2006Sacramento Kings (assistant)
2008–2011Sacramento Kings (assistant)
Career highlights and awards
  • 13× Ivy League champion (1968, 1969, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1989–1992, 1996)
  • NIT champion (1975)
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Early lifeEdit

Pedro José Carril was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on July 10, 1930.[1][2] His father, an immigrant from Spain, was employed as a steelworker at Bethlehem Steel for four decades and brought up his son as a single father.[2][1] Carril attended Liberty High School in his hometown,[3] where he was an all-state selection for Pennsylvania.[1] He then studied at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, playing college basketball for the Lafayette Leopards under Butch van Breda Kolff.[1][2] Carril was honored as a Little All-American during his senior year in 1952.[2] While at Lafayette, he became a member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity.[4] After graduating from college, he served briefly in the US Army.[2] He later obtained a master's degree in educational administration from Lehigh University in 1959.[1][2]


High school coachingEdit

Carril first worked as the junior varsity basketball coach and ninth grade Pennsylvania history teacher at Easton Area High School, starting in 1954. In 1958, Carril became varsity coach at Reading Senior High School in Reading, Pennsylvania, where Gary Walters, the former Princeton University athletic director and earlier Princeton point guard played basketball under him in high school.[5][6]

College coachingEdit

Princeton University's Jadwin Gymnasium features a banner (upper left) celebrating Carril's coaching accomplishments at Princeton

After a year at Lehigh University, Carril moved to Princeton University. In 29 years, he compiled a 514–261 (.663 winning percentage) record.[7] He is also the only men's coach to win 500 games without the benefit of athletic scholarships for his players.[8] He won or shared 13 Ivy League championships and received 11 NCAA tournament berths and 2 NIT bids. The Tigers won the NIT championship in 1975.[7]

Carril's Tigers had the nation's best scoring defense in 14 out of 21 years from 1975 to 1996, including eight in a row from 1988 to 1996.[9] Games against Princeton were typically low-scoring affairs; for example, the 1990–91 and 1991–92 Tigers are the only teams to hold opponents below 50 points per game since the shot clock became mandatory for the 1985–86 season.[10] Partly due to these factors, while his Tigers only won three NCAA Tournament games, they were known as a very dangerous first-round opponent;[11][12] seven of their first round losses were by fewer than ten points.[13]

In 1989, Princeton took first-ranked Georgetown down to the wire, leading by eight points at halftime before losing 50–49.[2] Had the Tigers won, they would have been the first #16 seed to defeat a #1 seed since the NCAA began seeding the tournament field in 1979.[14] Seven years later, Carril's final collegiate victory was an upset of defending national champions UCLA in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 1996 by a score of 43–41, in what is considered one of the greatest upsets of all time.[15][16]

Carill's career collegiate coaching record, including one season at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was 525–273.[7] He was enshrined in both the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997, following his retirement from Princeton.[17]

Sacramento KingsEdit

Carril was an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association for 10 years until his retirement in 2006.[2][18] After Rick Adelman became Sacramento's head coach before the 1998–99 season, Carril helped Adelman install the Princeton offensive game plan and oversaw the Kings' development into one of the NBA's most potent offensive teams. During his tenure, the Kings were noted for their quick-passing offense, as well as their ability to stymie double teaming attempts from their opponents.[19] In 2007, he volunteered as a coach with the Washington Wizards.[20] He subsequently rejoined the Kings as an assistant for the 2009 season.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Carril was married to Dolores Halteman. Together, they had two children: Peter and Lisa.[2][21] They eventually divorced.[2]

Carril suffered a heart attack in 2000, which spurred him to quit smoking Macanudo cigars altogether.[2] He died on August 15, 2022, at Penn Hospital in Philadelphia.[22] He was 92, and suffered a stroke prior to his death.[2][17]

Head coaching recordEdit

Source: [7]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Lehigh Engineers (NCAA University Division independent) (1966–1967)
1966–67 Lehigh 11–12
Lehigh: 11–12
Princeton Tigers (Ivy League) (1967–1996)
1967–68 Princeton 20–6 12–2 T–1st
1968–69 Princeton 19–7 14–0 1st NCAA University First Round
1969–70 Princeton 16–9 9–5 3rd
1970–71 Princeton 14–11 9–5 T–3rd
1971–72 Princeton 20–7 12–2 2nd NIT Quarterfinal
1972–73 Princeton 16–9 11–3 2nd
1973–74 Princeton 16–10 11–3 T–2nd
1974–75 Princeton 22–8 12–2 2nd NIT Champion
1975–76 Princeton 22–5 14–0 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1976–77 Princeton 21–5 13–1 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1977–78 Princeton 17–9 11–3 T–2nd
1978–79 Princeton 14–12 7–7 3rd
1979–80 Princeton 15–15 11–3 T–1st
1980–81 Princeton 18–10 13–1 T–1st NCAA Division I First Round
1981–82 Princeton 13–13 9–5 T–2nd
1982–83 Princeton 20–9 12–2 1st NCAA Division I Second Round
1983–84 Princeton 18–10 10–4 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1984–85 Princeton 11–15 7–7 T–4th
1985–86 Princeton 13–13 7–7 T–4th
1986–87 Princeton 16–9 9–5 T–2nd
1987–88 Princeton 17–9 9–5 3rd
1988–89 Princeton 19–8 11–3 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1989–90 Princeton 20–7 11–3 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1990–91 Princeton 24–3 14–0 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1991–92 Princeton 22–6 12–2 1st NCAA Division I First Round
1992–93 Princeton 15–11 7–7 4th
1993–94 Princeton 18–8 11–3 2nd
1994–95 Princeton 16–10 10–4 T–2nd
1995–96 Princeton 22–7 12–2 T–1st NCAA Division I Second Round
Princeton: 514–261 310–96
Total: 525–273

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  • Carril, Pete; White, Dan (1997). The Smart Take from the Strong: The Basketball Philosophy of Pete Carril. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-83510-5.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Litsky, Frank (August 15, 2022). "Pete Carril, Princeton's Textbook Basketball Coach, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Otis, John (August 15, 2022). "Pete Carril, Princeton's Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies at 92". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  3. ^ "Beloved coach Pete Carril dies at 92, leaving indelible legacy at Princeton and on basketball". Princeton University. August 16, 2022. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  4. ^ "Famous Delts". Delta Tau Delta. Archived from the original on May 15, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2012
  5. ^ "Welcome Home, Coach Carril". Princeton University. January 5, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  6. ^ O'Rourke, Larry (March 9, 2000). "The Long Road Pete Carril Has Traveled: The Highways And By-ways Of The Lehigh Valley And The Nation In His Long Journey To The Basketball Hall Of Fame". Morning Call. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "Pete Carril Coaching Record". College Basketball at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  8. ^ "Pete Carril". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  9. ^ Entry at Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  10. ^ Norlander, Matt (December 4, 2019). "This season's Virginia team can be the best defense in modern college basketball history". CBS Sports.
  11. ^ Conn, Wilson (April 5, 2021). "Moments in March: Pete Carril led the Tigers to a stunning upset over UCLA". The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  12. ^ Davis, Seth (August 15, 2022). "Former Princeton basketball coach Pete Carril dies at 92". The Athletic. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  13. ^ "NCAA Tournament Matchup Finder Query Results". College Basketball at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  14. ^ Boone, Kyle (August 15, 2022). "Pete Carril, Hall of Fame coach who developed Princeton offense, dies at 92". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  15. ^ "Carril Is Yoda to Notion of Perpetual Motion". The New York Times. March 30, 2007.
  16. ^ " – Page2 – When underdogs dance". Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  17. ^ a b "Hall of Fame ex-Princeton Tigers coach Pete Carril dies at 92". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. August 15, 2022. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  18. ^ "Long-time Sacramento Kings assistant coach, Princeton legend Pete Carril dies". AP. August 15, 2022. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  19. ^ Jackson, Phil; Rosen, Charley (January 4, 2011). More Than a Game. Seven Stories Press. p. 236. ISBN 9781609802622.
  20. ^ Ziller, Tom (October 2, 2007). "Carril Working As a Volunteer Coach With the Wizards". Retrieved December 6, 2021.
  21. ^ Porter, David L., ed. (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 73. ISBN 9780313309526.
  22. ^ McDaniel, Mike (August 15, 2022). "Legendary Princeton Coach Pete Carril Dies at 92". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 17, 2022.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit