JACK KRAFT, who coached the Villanova basketball team to the national title game in 1971, has died at age 93.
Kraft, who guided the Wildcats for 12 seasons beginning in 1961, was in an assisted-living facility in Cape May Court House, N.J.
"I don't know about the X's and O's, but all I remember is he was such a quality gentleman," said Fran O'Hanlon, the Lafayette coach who was a senior guard on Kraft's 1970 team that went to the Elite Eight. "We had such tremendous respect for him. He was so good to a lot of us. He brought a lot of people together. We would go down just to say hello. That we made the effort was a tribute to him. He was just a really good guy. I saw him a couple of times this summer. We all did."
Kraft went 238-95 with the Wildcats, going to the NCAA Tournament six times and the NIT five. The only time he didn't make the postseason was his final season on the Main Line. He then went 103-88 at Rhode Island from 1973-81 before retiring because of ill health. There, he made the NCAA in 1978 and the NIT the next season. He was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame in 1987.
Kraft, who also made it to an Elite Eight in 1962 and the Sweet 16 two years later, coached Wali Jones, Bill Melchionni, Jim Washington and Hubie White.
But he's best remembered for the 1970-71 squad, which was led by Howard Porter, Chris Ford, Tom Inglesby and Hank Siemiontkowski and lost to UCLA in the finals. His trademark was the ball defense, which is now better known as the matchup zone.