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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 lads’s basketball coach and athletics division fund-raiser, died on Sunday at his residence in Storrs, Conn. He was 91.

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

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

After defeating Hofstra within the first spherical of that event, Connecticut lost, 93-79, to Rutgers. “We misplaced due to the way in which Rutgers makes you play,” he stated after the sport. “ We simply allow them to play too quick for us. A workforce 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 obtained 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 obtained out at 48. I used to be burned out.”

Inside a yr, he began because the athletics division’s fund-raiser. “He had been provided the athletics director job at Middlebury, and alongside the way in which he pursued others, however he was dedicated to UConn,” his son stated in a cellphone interview. “He needed to be round it. He was very passionate and was an important salesman. At UConn, he offered from the center.”

In his 13 years as fund-raiser, an official function, Rowe was greatest recognized for amassing about $7 million in personal donations to construct the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, the Storrs campus area. Named after the lead donor, an actual property developer and alumnus, the pavilion is residence to the lads’s and girls’s basketball workforce and the ladies’s volleyball workforce.

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 observe.

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

“He missed teaching, and he by no means stopped making an attempt to get me to play the 2-3 zone and run the stack offense,” Auriemma stated. “I by no means obtained round to the stack offense, however we as soon as gained a recreation late by going to the 2-3 and I by no means heard the tip of it.”

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

Donald Earle Rowe was born on Jan. 20, 1929, in Worcester, Mass. His father, Minott, was an insurance coverage firm govt. 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 workforce to 9 New England prep faculty 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 workforce. He had solely two shedding 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 workforce.

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

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

He obtained one other probability in 2012, when he attended the Summer time Video games in London in a touring get together with Auriemma, who coached the U.S. ladies’s basketball workforce 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 pal, advised The Courant in 2016. “Basketball gave him a car to do his magic.”

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