Bill Courtney's hiring in April as the Robert E. Gallagher '44, Head Coach of Cornell Men's Basketball brought some significant national media attention. He joins a long lineage of coaches of Cornell basketball.
Courtney's predecessor, Steve Donahue, led the Big Red to a third consecutive Ivy League title, No. 17 final national ranking and a NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearance during 2009-2010.
Before Donahue, Scott Thompson had some modest success, including a 15-11 season during 1996-1997.
Between 1986-1991, Mike Dement had a .500 career coaching record, but his '88 team captured the Ivy League Championship and went on to the NCAA Tournament. It was Cornell's first title after a 34 year drought.
Some credit Tom Miller, a Bobby Knight disciple, as engineering Cornell's resurgence in the 1980s. Although he inherited a 5-19 team for the 1980-1981 season, he turned the program around and recorded three straight winning seasons between 1983 and 1986, finishing 2nd in the league in '84 and 3rd in both '85 and '86.
Sam MacNeil coached from '59-'68, but never won an Ivy title despite his respectable .638 winning percentage.
Royner Greene coached from 1946-1959 and won the Ivy League (EIBL) title with the Big Red in 1954.
Coaching from 1912-1919, Albert Sharpe (left) owned a .709 winning percentage and led Cornell to the 1913 and 1914 Ivy League (EIBL) championships. Howie Ortner (right), a member of the class of '19, coached immediately after his graduation and retained the coaching reigns through 1936. Ortner led Cornell to the 1924 Ivy League (EIBL) title, the program's third championship.
Although the Cornell basketball program is formally recognized as commencing competition during the 1898-1899 season, Cornell Athletics officially recognizes Walter Haggerty as the program's first head coach during the 1908-1909 season. Above, the January 27, 1908 issue of The Cornell Daily Sun announces Haggerty's hiring. Hagerty coached two seasons at Cornell.