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Clair Francis Bee (March 2, 1896 – May 20, 1983) was an American basketball coach, who led the team at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York to two undefeated seasons, in 1936 and 1939, as well as two National Invitation Tournament titles (1939, 1941). He was born in Grafton, West Virginia.

Bee's teams won 95 percent of their games from 1931 to 1951, including 43 in a row from 1935 to 1937.[1] Bee holds the Division I NCAA record for highest winning percentage, winning 82.6% of the games he was head coach. [2]

Bee also coached the football team at LIU until it was disbanded in 1940.[3]

He coached the National Basketball Association's Baltimore Bullets from 1952 to 1954, amassing a 34-116 record under his tenure.

Bee was known as the "Innovator." His contributions to the game of basketball include the 1-3-1 zone defense, the three-second rule and the 24-second shot clock in the NBA.

His influence on the game also extended to strategies sports camps (Camp All-America), (Kutsher's Sports Academy), writing technical coaching books, and conducting coaching clinics around the world. By the time he left coaching in the 1950s, Bee had already begun writing the Chip Hilton Sports Series for younger readers, which is considered the top sports fiction series ever written.

Bee was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame in 1968. The Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award is awarded every year to a coach who makes an outstanding contribution to the game of college basketball, and the Chip Hilton Player of the Year Award is awarded to a men's basketball player.

In 1968, he cofounded the Kutsher's Sports Academy.[4]

One of Bee's grandfathers was Ephraim Bee, a member of the First West Virginia Legislature.


  1. ^ LIU streaks
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Long Island University Blackbirds All-Time Football Records
  4. ^ Basketball Hall of Fame bio

External links

Preceded by
Chick Reiser
Baltimore Bullets Head Coach
Succeeded by


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