Former Duke Coach Vic Bubas Has Died at 91

Former Duke coach Vic Bubas died Monday at the age of 91. No details regarding the circumstances of his passing have been released at this time.

Bubas coached the Blue Devils for a decade from 1959-69. He took the job at the young age of 32 after eight seasons as an assistant for legendary N.C. State coach Everett Case.

During his time at the helm of Duke, Bubas amassed a 213-67 (.761) overall record and 106-32 (.768) mark in ACC games. His record ranks third all-time in terms of wins behind Eddie Cameron (226) and current head coach Mike Krzyzewski (1,027).

“When I first arrived at Duke, Coach Bubas gave me the best advice,” Krzyzewski said in a statement released by the school. “Essentially, he told me to be myself and to focus solely on Duke, while not getting caught up in everything going on around us.”

Bubas was named ACC Coach of the Year three times and won the conference title for the first four times in school history in 1960, 1963, 1964 and 1966.

The Blue Devils posted and 11-4 mark in the NCAA Tournament during the decade under Bubas’ leadership. The program reach the Final Four three times from 1963 to 1966. He unquestionably established the program’s tradition much further back than most observers likely realize.

Here he is advocating for the slam dunk in 1967. That’s a pretty progressive stance for the time. It’s clear that Bubas appreciated the value of the dollar and didn’t want fans being taken advantage of, especially the fancy-pants folks in the five dollar seats.


Bubas surprised everyone when he retired from coaching at the age of 42. He moved on to a job in the Duke University administration and later became vice president. In 1976, Bubas was named the first commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference. He remained in that position for 14 years until his retirement.

Bubas played at Illinois and NC State where he was twice named to the All-Southern Conference team as a guard. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

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