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Harry Combes (March 3, 1915 – November 13, 1977), a native of Monticello, Illinois, served as head men's basketball coach at University of Illinois between 1947 and 1967.

A three-year letterwinner, Combes was also a star player for the Illini from 1935-1937 and helped lead Illinois to both its Big Ten titles in the 1930's.

Combes began coaching basketball at Champaign High School, where he posted an astounding 254-46 record, including winning the state title in 1946.

Once at Illinois he won three Big Ten titles in his first five seasons ('49, '51, and '52). Combes led Illinois to three third-place finishes in the NCAA Tournament in the four-year period from 1949-1952. The squad won 79 of the 100 games during those four years. Illinois' 1952 Final Four appearance was the first officially recognized Final Four and the only Final Four appearance Illinois made until 1989. Until Lou Henson broke the record in 1990, Combes' 316 wins were the most wins ever by an Illinois head basketball coach.[1]

Combes also served as boys baseball coach at Champaign High School, where he compiled an impressive 70-26-2 (.724) record over a five-year period (1937-1942).

Coaching record - Basketball

School Season Record Conference Record, Place Postseason (Final AP Rank)
Champaign HS 1938-9 18-9 State Quarterfinals
Champaign HS 1939-40 26-8 State Semifinals
Champaign HS 1940-1 26-3
Champaign HS 1941-2 22-7
Champaign HS 1942-3 25-6 State Quarterfinals
Champaign HS 1943-4 31-6 State Semifinals
Champaign HS 1944-5 34-2 State Championship (Runner-up)
Champaign HS 1945-6 38-1 State Championship
Champaign HS 1946-7 34-4 State Championship (Runner-up)
Illinois 1947-8 15-5 7-5
Illinois 1948-9 21-4 10-2, 1st NCAA Playoff, 3rd
Illinois 1949-50 14-8 7-5, T3rd
Illinois 1950-1 22-5 13-1, 1st NCAA Playoff, 3rd (#5)
Illinois 1951-2 22-4 12-2, 1st NCAA Final Four, 3rd (#2)
Illinois 1952-3 18-4 14-4, 2nd (#13)
Illinois 1953-4 17-5 10-4, T3rd (#19)
Illinois 1954-5 17-5 10-4, T2 (#18)
Illinois 1955-6 18-4 11-3, 2nd (#7)
Illinois 1956-7 14-8 7-7, 7th
Illinois 1957-8 11-11 5-9, T8th
Illinois 1958-9 12-10 7-7, T5
Illinois 1959-60 16-7 8-6, T3
Illinois 1960-1 9-15 5-9, 7th
Illinois 1961-2 15-8 7-7, T4
Illinois 1962-3 20-6 11-3, 1st NCAA Second Round, (#8)
Illinois 1963-4 13-11 6-8, T6th
Illinois 1964-5 18-6 10-4, 3rd
Illinois 1965-66 12-12 8-6, T3rd
Illinois 1966-7 21-12 6-8

See also

References

  1. ^ 2004-2005 University of Illinois Men's Basketball Program
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