Idaho Hall of Fame Basketball Player Dies
Don Newman, one of the last week’s inductees into the Idaho Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame, passed away on Tuesday night after a battle with cancer. He was 60.
The New Orleans native played two seasons with the Vandals, helping jump start the Don Monson era. He twice earned All-Big Sky honors, and was named the Big Sky Player of the Year in 1980. His 281 career assists still rank sixth all-time.
Following his time in Moscow, Newman was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 69th pick in the 1980 NBA Draft. He would go on to play three seasons with the Montana Golden Nuggets under George Karl in the Continental Basketball Association, and even played six years as a wide receiver in the Canadian Football League despite not playing football in college.
Newman’s coaching career began immediately after his football playing career ended, starting back on the Palouse at Lewiston and Moscow High Schools. It did not take long for Newman to be recognized for his talents, and he was quickly picked up by Washington State as an assistant.
He spent five seasons at WSU before getting his first head coaching opportunity, helping Sacramento State transition to Division I. Newman spent five years with the Hornets before taking over as head coach at Arizona State.
Newman’s professional break came in 1999, when his former head coach, Karl, brought him out to be an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks. He spent four years with Karl, then spent a season in New Jersey with the Nets, before finding his home with the San Antonio Spurs. During his eight years in San Antonio, the Spurs won a pair of NBA Championships, in 2005 and 2007. In 2012, Newman moved on to join the Washington Wizards staff, a position he held for four years.