Raymond J. Edelman, 87, of Woodbury, a highly regarded basketball coach at the Haverford School, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University, and elsewhere, died Saturday, Dec. 6, of complications from a gall bladder infection at Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury.
He was "a coach's coach on the offensive side," his eldest son, Raymond H. Edelman, said Sunday. "Attacking different kinds of defenses, setting up offenses that would go against particular defenses."
Although he retired in the 1980s, Mr. Edelman was often on the phone with prominent coaches, mentoring them or attending practices and offering advice, his son said.
Herb Magee, a hall of fame basketball coach at Philadelphia University, said working with Mr. Edelman decades ago elevated his understanding of the game.
"I learned basketball that year, and I think I know a lot about basketball," Magee said in 2002. "He's a genius."
"Ray would X-and-O with anybody anywhere. I still have napkins with plays on them," Joe Cassidy, the longtime coach at Rowan University, told The Inquirer in 1999.
Mr. Edelman was born in West Philadelphia and grew up in Havertown. At Haverford High School, he played soccer, baseball, and basketball. After graduating in 1945, he joined the Army and served in Germany with the 72d Replacement Battalion.
After returning from Germany in 1946, he went to West Chester State College, where he was a starter for four years on the varsity basketball and baseball teams.
Mr. Edelman taught health and physical education, and coached sports at Haverford Middle School for many years - baseball and football in addition to basketball - before rising to the collegiate level.
"He was a very good teacher," his son said. "He enjoyed bringing youngsters along and trying to get them from the teenage years to adulthood."
In the 1960s, he served as an assistant coach at Penn under Jack McCloskey and Dick Harter. He followed Harter to the University of Oregon in the early 1970s, but soon returned to Pennsylvania as head coach at the Haverford School in 1973.
In his five years with the Haverford School, Mr. Edelman won 95 games and lost 16. When his son Michael was a senior there in 1978, the father-son duo led the team to a league title.
His other children also followed in Mr. Edelman's footsteps. At Haverford High in 1970, Raymond H. Edelman set a school record of 1,441 career points that would stand for 34 years. Linda Edelman Murphy played for the University of Kentucky and was an assistant coach of the women's basketball team at Penn for six years in the 1980s. Another daughter, Cindy Edelman Watts, played for the University of Delaware.
In 1979, Mr. Edelman rejoined Dick Harter at Penn State. He remained there for five years before taking the head coaching job at Springfield High School in Delaware County in 1984.
Although basketball was his career for about 30 years, his son said, Mr. Edelman also loved baseball. "He was a lifelong Cubs fan. A frustrated Cubs fan. They never won anything," he said. "Now that he's up there, maybe he'll be able to help the Cubs out."
In addition to two sons and two daughters, Mr. Edelman is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Mildred C. Edelman; another daughter, Patty Karlovich; 19 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass was scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 500 Greentree Rd., Glassboro.
Contributions may be made to Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, 5 Eves Dr., Suite 300, Marlton, N.J. 08053.