Dee Rowe, UConn Basketball Coach and Fund-Raiser, Dies at 91

Dee Rowe, a revered determine on the University of Connecticut for a half-century as the boys’s basketball coach and athletics division fund-raiser, died on Sunday at his house in Storrs, Conn. He was 91.

His son, Donald, mentioned that the trigger was Covid-19, however that he had additionally acquired a analysis of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a sort of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Rowe (his given identify was Donald, however he acquired the nickname Dee in childhood, and it caught) coached the Huskies for eight seasons, compiling a 120-88 document as he guided the group twice to the Nationwide Invitational Match and as soon as to the N.C.A.A. males’s match, in 1976.

After defeating Hofstra within the first spherical of that match, Connecticut lost, 93-79, to Rutgers. “We misplaced due to the best way Rutgers makes you play,” he mentioned after the sport. “ We simply allow them to play too quick for us. A group like that, that performs that quick, they in the end put on you down.”

Following the 1976-77 season, when he led the Huskies to a 17-10 document, he retired due to pancreatitis. “I acquired to the purpose in teaching the place I felt I used to be the lone matador,” he told The Hartford Courant in 2004. “I suffered an excessive amount of. I acquired out at 48. I used to be burned out.”

Inside a 12 months, he began because the athletics division’s fund-raiser. “He had been provided the athletics director job at Middlebury, and alongside the best way he pursued others, however he was dedicated to UConn,” his son mentioned in a telephone interview. “He wished to be round it. He was very passionate and was an incredible salesman. At UConn, he bought from the guts.”

In his 13 years as fund-raiser, an official function, Rowe was finest identified for gathering about $7 million in non-public donations to construct the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, the Storrs campus enviornment. Named after the lead donor, an actual property developer and alumnus, the pavilion is house to the boys’s and ladies’s basketball group and the ladies’s volleyball group.

After retiring in 1991 he remained a particular adviser and helped increase cash to construct the Werth Household UConn Basketball Champions Middle, the place the basketball groups follow.

He recurrently attended ladies’s basketball practices, Coach Geno Auriemma mentioned in a Zoom information convention on Sunday.

“He missed teaching, and he by no means stopped attempting to get me to play the 2-Three zone and run the stack offense,” Auriemma mentioned. “I by no means acquired round to the stack offense, however we as soon as gained a sport late by going to the 2-Three and I by no means heard the top of it.”

Mr. Rowe served on the search committees that really helpful the hiring of Mr. Auriemma and Jim Calhoun as the boys’s basketball coach.

Donald Earle Rowe was born on Jan. 20, 1929, in Worcester, Mass. His father, Minott, was an insurance coverage firm government. His mom, Arlene (Harrington) Rowe, was a homemaker.

He performed basketball and baseball at Worcester Academy and later at Middlebury Faculty in Vermont, from which he graduated after transferring from the College of Rhode Island. He earned a grasp’s diploma in schooling at Boston College, then returned to Worcester Academy, the place, over 13 years, he coached the basketball group to 9 New England prep college titles. He was additionally the varsity’s baseball coach and athletics director.

In 1969, he changed Burr Carlson as coach of the Connecticut males’s basketball group. He had solely two dropping seasons earlier than stepping down. Then, even after beginning his fund-raising job, he was named an assistant coach of the 1980 U.S. males’s Olympic basketball group.

The group toured the nation main as much as the Moscow Summer time Olympics, however america boycotted the occasion due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

“I simply keep in mind the shock of it,” Rowe informed The Courant in 2016. “It was an incredible expertise however tragic that we didn’t go.”

He acquired one other probability in 2012, when he attended the Summer time Video games in London in a touring celebration with Auriemma, who coached the U.S. ladies’s basketball group to a gold medal.

Along with his son, Mr. Rowe is survived by his daughters, Donna Rowe-Korn, Cindy Rowe Pelletier, Karen Rowe, Lisa Shafto, Julie Rowe and Jennifer Havlicek; 17 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His spouse, Virginia (Bradford) Rowe, died in 2018.

In 2017, Rowe acquired the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame for his contributions to basketball.

“He has been a contributor all his life,” Bob Cousy, the Boston Celtics Corridor of Famer and a good friend, informed The Courant in 2016. “Basketball gave him a car to do his magic.”

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