Louis A. R. Pieri '20
Year Inducted: 1981
Louis A. R. Pieri ’20 was an astute, daring, and successful businessman who, with energy, ambition, and hard work built financial and sports eminence. That was his public image. But away from the business arenas, the other side of his personality manifested itself. He was the essence of amiability, gracious host, quick, generous – and silent – in philanthropies. Barney Madden, late sports editor of the Providence Journal, once said that Lou Pieri was as incorrigible as any fan in the world and added: “He would cheer his players as resolutely as the veriest of galleryites. He would fling his hat onto the ice in celebration of a good play by his Reds – and pay $10 to the player who retrieved it.” One of the best known sports promoters of the twentieth century, Lou Pieri was owner of the Rhode Island Auditorium and the Providence Reds hockey team. During his long and colorful career, he had owned outright or in part the Boston Celtics, Holiday on Ice, Ice Capades, and a highly successful stable of race horses. Pieri played football and baseball at Brown, but found the school without basketball, which had been dropped a decade or so earlier. In short order, he pressured the University into giving basketball varsity status once again and then, having accomplished that, he coached and captained the 1919-20 team. He became manager of the R.I. Auditorium in 1929 and part owner of the Boston Celtics twenty years later – on the stipulation that Walter Brown hire the then little-known Red Auerbach as head coach. Later, it was Pieri who urged the signing of Bob Cousy, a move that started the long Celtics dynasty. He owned and bred a horse named Louis Arnold, which won the New England Futurity in 1964. He also grew a better than average blueberry in Maine and was president and treasurer of the Maine Blueberry Association. Lou died in 1967 and is survived by his wife, Mildred ’22, a daughter, Lucille Martine ’48, and a son, Louis, Jr.