Kennedy is winnigest coach in school history

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Don Kennedy, who led St. Peter's basketball team from a small-time program to major college status during his 22 years as head coach, has died. He was 97.

Kennedy died Tuesday, but no information about the cause of death was released. He had experienced health problems in recent years but continued to attend Peacocks games both home and away. He was honored by the school at a game last season for his career achievements.

Kennedy came to St. Peter's in 1950 and is still the winningest men's coach in its history, with a 323-195 record. His teams were known for their fast-break style and prolific scoring.

He led the Peacocks to three NAIA tournaments and five appearances in the NIT.

Current Peacocks coach Bob Leckie, who played on the 1968 St. Peter's team that reached the semifinals of the NIT, remembered Kennedy as a strict disciplinarian who pushed his players to do their best.

"Playing for him and knowing him were two different worlds," Leckie told The Star-Ledger of Newark. "When I was a player, I kind of lived in fear of him, but after I became the coach he would call me up to commiserate about basketball at age 95. He was really a confideat for me."