Born: July 21, 1891
Died: April 29, 1982
Elmer H. Ripley was an American college men's and professional basketball coach. In over 30 years, he coached collegiately at seven different schools as well as professionally for several teams.
Ripley was born in Staten Island, New York on July 21, 1891. After graduating from local Curtis High School, he attended Brown University.
Considered to be one of the great basketball coaches of the last century, Ripley began his career as a player before making the switch to coach in 1922. At age 19, Ripley decided to leave Brown to play basketball professionally with the Interstate League Brooklyn Trolly Dodgers, the New York League's Utica Utes and the "Original Celtics" club. Ripley would enjoy numerous achievements including being voted among the ten best pro players from 1909 to 1926.
After playing, he went on to coach basketball at several major American universities and traveled the world teaching the game. Ripley began his first professional coaching tenure with Wagner College in 1922, before moving into a position at Georgetown University in 1927. His skills as a coach were evident as he won 12 of his first 13 games. During his many years with the Georgetown, he achieved a 133–82 record and lead the Hoyas to the NCAA tournament twice. Ripley was in high demand and was hied away by several prestigious colleges including Columbia University, University of Notre Dame, and Yale University, which he coached to the 1933 Ivy League championship.
After leaving Georgetown for good in 1949, Ripley coached the Harlem Globetrotters (1953–1956), the Israeli Olympic team (1956) and the Canadian Olympic team (1960). Held in high regard, the U.S. Committee for Sports sent Ripley to Israel in 1957 to teach basketball. Ripley continued to coach through his 80th birthday and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.
Ripley died on April 29, 1982 at the age of 89.