John W. Bach '46
Year Inducted: 1982
John W. Bach '46 was the key figure on Brown's 15-4 New England championship team of 1944-45, a team considered by some to be the school's best. Coached by Rip Engle, Brown dominated Ivy competition that year, beat UConn by 20 points, and won the N.E. crown with a stunning 82-68 victory over Coach Frank Keaney's 15-1 Rams in the season's finale before a packed house at Marvel Gym. The Bruins were forced to turn down an NIT bid because three of the starters were being moved out by the Navy V-12 unit. In almost every game, center Johnny Bach dominated the action on a team that included Woody Grimshaw and Al Hartley at the forwards and Tom Culbertson and Paul Zuber at the guard slots. Mike Thomas of the Providence Journal described Bach as "probably the greatest all-around player in Brown history" and the paper's sports editor, Barney Madden, had this to say: "The former Fordham star is almost the perfect blend of offensive and defensive star. He shoots very well, is an exceptional playmaker, and his defensive versatility has made it possible for Brown to shift its defense repeatedly. Largely because of his artistry in passing, Brown has been able to fashion an all-around offense. He is also the hub of the defense, the middle man in the zone Coach Engle has employed with such success. He is uncanny in tipping in rebounds and in clearing both the offensive and defensive boards." Bach had been a star at St. John's Prep and Fordham before playing his one season at Brown. After leaving College Hill, Bach returned to Fordham, where he was an MVP before spending a year with the Boston Celtics. In 1950 he came one of the nation's youngest head coaches at a major college when he took over the coaching job at Fordham. He spent 18 years there, taking seven Ram teams to post-season tourneys, before starting a long and successful coaching career at Penn State, where he joined three former Brown friends - Rip Engle, Joe Paterno, and Joe McMullen. Johnny Bach has served as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and is currently assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association.