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Tom Meschery
Power Forward
Born October 26, 1938 (1938-10-26) (age 71)
Harbin, Manchuria
Nationality  United States
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 215 lb (98 kg)
College St. Mary's (CA)
Draft 7th overall, 1961
Philadelphia Warriors
Pro career 1961–1971
Former teams Philadelphia Warriors 1961–62
San Francisco Warriors 1962–67
Seattle SuperSonics 1967–71

Thomas Nicholas "Tom" Meschery (born October 26, 1938 as Tomislav Nikolayevich Meshcheryakov (Russian: Томислав Николаевич Мещеряков))[1] is a Russian American former professional basketball player. He was a power forward with a 10 year National Basketball Association career from 1962 to 1971. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and the Seattle SuperSonics. He led the league in personal fouls in 1962 and played in the 1963 NBA All-Star Game. His jersey, number 14, was retired by the Warriors.

Contents

Early years

Meschery was born as Tomislav Nikolayevich Meshcheryakov in Harbin, China. His parents were Russian emigrants that fled from the October Revolution in 1917. The Meschery family was later relocated to a Japanese internment camp near Tokyo during World War II. After the war, Meschery and his parents emigrated to the United States. It was also in this phase of his life where his father renamed the family "Meschery" due to the anti-Communist/anti-Soviet Red Scare under Joseph McCarthy, and Tomislav Nikolayevich was renamed Thomas Nicholas, which later was abbreviated to Tom.[1] Living in San Francisco, California, Meschery attended Lowell High School. After graduating in 1957, he went to Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961. In 1973 Meschery was inducted into the St Mary's Hall of Fame and his basketball jersey hangs in McKeon Pavilion on campus.

Professional basketball career

Standing 6 ft 6 in, Meschery also was a highly talented basketball player. After graduating from St. Mary's, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors as the 7th pick overall in the 1961 NBA Draft. Meschery played alongside legend Wilt Chamberlain, to whom he later dedicated a poem. Chamberlain left the Warriors in 1965, returning to his home town Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to play with the 76ers. The Warriors however, strengthened by the arrival of Rick Barry, made the 1967 NBA Finals, in which they lost to Chamberlain's Sixers. After his NBA Finals appearance, Meschery left the Warriors to join the NBA's expansion franchise Seattle SuperSonics. He went on to play another four seasons with the Sonics before retiring in 1971, the same year in which he became head coach of the ABA's Carolina Cougars, which he guided to a record of 35–49 before being replaced by Larry Brown.

Post-basketball life

Meschery returned to school after his coaching stint, receiving his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1974. He studied poetry with Mark Strand, U.S. poet laureate at University of Washington. After receiving his teaching credentials at University of Nevada, Reno, Meschery taught high school English in Reno, Nevada, until his retirement in 2005. He is also a poet, whose works often relate to basketball, teaching, and being a Russian immigrant. In 2002, Meschery was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Tom Meschery was also inducted to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

Meschery is living in Sacramento, California with his wife Melanie Marchant Meschery, a professor of art at Sacramento City College and painter. Meschery continues to write poems, fiction, and essays.[2]

Works

  • Over the Rim (1970), New York: McCall Publishing.
  • Caught in the Pivot: a Diary of a Rookie Coach in the Exploding World of Pro Basketball (1973). Dell.
  • Nothing We Lose Can Be Replaced (1999), Black Rock Press, University of Nevada, Reno.

References

External links

Preceded by
Jerry Steele
Carolina Cougars Head Coach
1971–1972
Succeeded by
Larry Brown
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