Pete Carril, legendary Princeton basketball coach and Hall of Famer, dies at 92

Princeton coach Pete Carril is interviewed after his team defeated UCLA in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament.
Princeton coach Pete Carril is interviewed after his team defeated UCLA in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament.

Pete Carril, the innovative basketball coach who led Princeton to 13 Ivy League championships, has died. The retired coach’s family confirmed the news in a statement through the school. He was 92.

"The Carril family is sad to report that Coach Peter J. Carril passed away peacefully this morning,” the statement said.  “We kindly ask that you please respect our privacy at this time as we process our loss and handle necessary arrangements. More information will be forthcoming in the following days."

Carril, a native of Bethlehem, Pa., took over the Tigers’ program in 1967 after making his collegiate coaching debut for one season in his hometown at Lehigh. His system became known as the Princeton offense, predicated on screens and back-door cuts to generate layups, and later making use of the three-point line.

In 29 seasons helming the Princeton program, Carril posted a record of 514-261. Carril’s Tigers won the NIT title in 1975 and made 11 NCAA tournament appearances, claiming 13 outright or shared Ivy League titles.

But it was arguably a loss that helped make Carril a household name among college basketball followers, as his 1989 squad came within a point of being the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 in the NCAA tournament.

Top-seeded Georgetown survived that contest 50-49, but the encounter apparently made an impression on legendary Hoyas’ coach John Thompson Jr. and his family. His son, John III, would later serve on Carril’s staff at Princeton. The younger Thompson would subsequently bring elements of Carril’s system back to Georgetown during his own stint as head coach of the Hoyas, which included a Final Four appearance in 2007.

Carril’s final season at Princeton ended with a bang as his Tigers did pull off an upset in March Madness, toppling defending champion UCLA in the first round. Following that 1996 season, he decided to take on a new challenge in the NBA, where he served as an assistant coach primarily with the Sacramento Kings until 2011. Carril was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1997 upon his departure from Princeton.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pete Carril, Princeton and Hall of Fame basketball coach, dies at 92