March 21, 2005
Jacksonville University's Hugh Durham, one of the winningest basketball coaches in Division I history, announced his retirement today after 37 years as a Division I head coach. Durham has spent the last eight seasons at JU after 17 years at Georgia and 12 years as head coach at Florida State. Newly-hired JU athletic director Alan Verlander will begin the search process for a new head coach immediately.
Durham completed his 45th season in college basketball ranked eighth among active Division I coaches with 633 career victories, including 106 wins as head coach of the Dolphins. He leaves as JU's all-time winningest Division I coach, making him the only coach in NCAA history to be the all-time winningest coach (pct. or wins) at three different Division I schools. Durham already holds the record for the best winning percentage at Florida State with a 230-95 (.708) record and is the all-time winningest coach in the 100-year history of the University of Georgia basketball with 297 wins.
"I've been fortunate enough to coach in six decades," said Durham, who has coached in 1,062 games, which ranked third among active Division I coaches. "Whatever success I've had as a coach is because I had good players. I had good players because I had good assistants."
Durham had one year remaining on his contract but did not want to commit to another 4-5 years as head coach of the Dolphins. "With a new president and a new athletic director coming in, this was the perfect time to make this decision," said Durham. "I appreciate the honor to work at JU, and it's been a privilege to coach college basketball at three quality institutions."
Durham's career reached new heights in 2003 when he became the 32nd coach all-time to win 600 career games and just the 17th Division I coach to eclipse 1,000 career games. The accomplishments don't end there:
Durham restored Dolphin Pride at Jacksonville as the Dolphins went from the doormat of the Atlantic Sun Conference to one of top programs in the league. Durham's signature defense and JU's home court dominance at Swisher Gymnasium were the keys to JU's resurgence the last five seasons:
Durham was initially hired as head basketball coach and assistant athletic director at JU on March 13, 1997. In March of 2000, Durham assumed the duties of interim athletic director and was tabbed the Dolphins' permanent A.D. in March of 2001, where he served in that role until January of 2004.
Not only does Durham's 45-year coaching career contain just about every award and honor given in college basketball, but he has coached some of the game's best, a "Who's Who" list that includes nine All-Americans, four Academic All-Americans, four first-round NBA draft picks and a pair of Olympians. Fifteen of his former players have gone on to play in the NBA, while he has had 31 players selected in the NBA Draft. His first recruiting class at Florida State in 1966 contained Dave Cowens, who is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He also coached Dominique Wilkins, one of the top-10 scorers in NBA history, as well as former Olympian and NBA standout Vern Fleming, who helped Durham lead Georgia to the 1983 Final Four. In 1972, Durham led Florida State to the NCAA Championship Game, eventually falling to perennial powerhouse UCLA, 81-76.
A native of Louisville, Ky., and a four-sport prep standout at Eastern High School, Durham began his coaching career as an assistant to long-time Florida State coach Bud Kennedy in 1959. This followed an outstanding playing career at Florida State, where he earned his B.A. in business administration in 1959, and his M.B.A. in 1961. Durham's name still decorates the FSU record books in a dozen different categories after scoring 1,381 points during his three-year career. His 21.9 ppg average in 1958-59 ranks seventh all-time at FSU, while his career average of 18.9 ppg ranks ninth in the Seminole record book. Durham's 43-point performance against Stetson on Jan. 19, 1957 still ranks second all-time at Florida State for a single game. Florida State's annual Team MVP award was re-named the "Hugh Durham Most Valuable Player" award in 1999.
Durham was inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Kentucky High School Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
After 37 years as a head coach, Dolphin basketball coach Hugh Durham announced his retirement on Monday.