C. M. Newton

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C. M. Newton
Sport(s) Basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1930-02-02)February 2, 1930
Rockwood, Tennessee
Died June 4, 2018(2018-06-04) (aged 88)
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Playing career
1949–1951 Kentucky
1950–1951 Kentucky
Position(s) Guard (basketball)
Pitcher (baseball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1956–1968 Transylvania
1968–1980 Alabama
1981–1989 Vanderbilt
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1989–2000 Kentucky
Head coaching record
Overall 509–375
Tournaments 3–4 (NCAA Division I)
12–8 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
3 SEC regular season (1975–1977)
SEC Coach of the Year (1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1988, 1989)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2000
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Charles Martin Newton (February 2, 1930 – June 4, 2018) was an American basketball player, coach, and college athletics administrator administrator. He served as the head men's basketball coach at Transylvania University from 1956 to 1968, the University of Alabama from 1968 to 1980, and Vanderbilt University from 1981 to 1989, compiling a career college basketball coaching record of 509–375. Newton played basketball and baseball at the University of Kentucky, where he was a member of the national championship-winning 1950–51 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team lead by head coach Adolph Rupp. Newton returned to his alma mater in 1989 at athletic director serving until 2000. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor 2000 and was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

College career[edit]

Born in Rockwood, Tennessee,[1] Newton was a two-sport player at the University of Kentucky, playing both baseball and basketball. As a reserve guard/forward, he was part of the Wildcats' national championship team in 1951 under legendary coach Adolph Rupp, though Newton himself averaged only 1.2 points per game.[2] As a pitcher he helped the Wildcats baseball team reach the NCAA tournament and, after college, signed a minor league baseball contract with a New York Yankees farm system. Newton finally gave up baseball after the births of his two daughters.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

Newton's coaching career spanned 30 years and three institutions.


By 1956, Newton had landed his first basketball coaching job at Transylvania University (then Transylvania College) in Lexington, Kentucky on a recommendation by Rupp.[4] Newton compiled a 169–137 record at Transylvania,[5] leading them to the 1963 NAIA Tournament. While at Transylvania he recruited the school's first black player.[3]

Newton was inducted into Transylvania's Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1992.[6]


In 1968, legendary football coach and athletic director Paul "Bear" Bryant, who had been the coach for the University of Kentucky's football team during Newton's playing days, called Rupp looking for someone to turn around the University of Alabama's basketball program. Rupp recommended Newton, who after twelve seasons at Transylvania, left Lexington for Tuscaloosa.[3]

In twelve seasons at Alabama, Newton led the Crimson Tide to a record of 211–123. Under Newton the Crimson Tide became the only school besides the University of Kentucky to win three straight Southeastern Conference titles (1974, 1975, and 1976).[3] Newton also guided Alabama to four NIT and two NCAA tournament berths, prompting the school to name a recruiting suite in his honor in 2006.[7]

Just as he did at Transylvania, Newton recruited Alabama's first black player, Wendell Hudson, in 1969, integrating his second team in as many coaching stops.[1]


After resigning from the University of Alabama in 1980 to become assistant commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, Newton had no intentions of coaching again until he was approached by Roy Kramer, the athletics director for Vanderbilt University. After only one year as assistant commissioner, Newton became coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores,[3] leading them to a 129–115 mark in eight seasons[5] and berths in the NCAA tournament in 1988 and 1989.[1]

Administrative career[edit]

NCAA Rules Committee[edit]

From 1979 to 1985, Newton served as chair of the NCAA Rules Committee. During his tenure the NCAA adopted the shot clock, the three-point line, and the coaches' box.[1] Newton was a member of the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee, overseeing the NCAA Tournament, from 1992 to 1999, including the last two years as chair of the group. In 1998, a survey done by the San Antonio Express-News proclaimed Newton "the most powerful man in college basketball."[citation needed] On March 16, 2015, former long-time commissioner of the Big East, Mike Tranghese, told Chris Russo on Sirius XM radio that Newton is the best chairman that ever served the NCAA.[citation needed]

University of Kentucky[edit]

In 1989, Newton's alma mater, the University of Kentucky, persuaded him to replace athletic director Cliff Hagan and help navigate the stormy waters of an NCAA probation.[8] Newton's first move as AD was to hire then-New York Knicks coach Rick Pitino.[9] The Wildcats bounced back from their probation with a core of mostly Kentucky-born players known affectionately to fans as "The Unforgettables." The group—consisting of Sean Woods, Deron Feldhaus, Richie Farmer, and John Pelphrey—lost in overtime in the East Regional final of the NCAA tournament to the Duke Blue Devils in a game many consider the greatest college basketball game ever played.[10]

Newton also hired Bernadette Mattox, the university's first black women's basketball coach in 1995. In 1997, he hired Orlando "Tubby" Smith, the university's first black men's basketball coach, to replace Pitino, who had accepted a head coaching job with the NBA's Boston Celtics.[1]

On December 18, 1999, Newton was presented with the Annie Wittenmyer White Ribbon Award by the Women's Christian Temperance Union for refusing to allow alcohol advertising at university sporting events.[11] Newton retired on June 30, 2000.[3]

In 2000, the University of Kentucky officially named its football playing field at Commonwealth Stadium, "C. M. Newton Field". As part of the renaming of the stadium to "Kroger Field" in 2017, the field itself was renamed "C. M. Newton Grounds".[citation needed]

USA Basketball[edit]

From 1992 to 1996, Newton served as the president of USA Basketball. It was on Newton's watch that the decision was made to allow professional basketball players to represent the United States in the Summer Olympics. This decision gave rise to the 1992 "Dream Team".[12]

Newton also served as an assistant coach under Bob Knight for the gold medal-winning 1984 United States men's Olympic basketball team.

Personal life and death[edit]

Newton and his first wife Evelyn, who died in 1999, had three children.[13] He died on June 4, 2018. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Nancy, whom he married in 2002.[12]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Transylvania Pioneers () (1956–1968)
Transylvania: 169–137
Alabama Crimson Tide (Southeastern Conference) (1968–1980)
1968–69 Alabama 4–20 1–17 10th
1969–70 Alabama 8–18 5–13 9th
1970–71 Alabama 10–16 6–12 T–8th
1971–72 Alabama 18–8 13–5 3rd
1972–73 Alabama 22–8 13–5 T–2nd NIT Fourth Place
1973–74 Alabama 22–4 15–3 T–1st
1974–75 Alabama 22–5 15–3 T–1st NCAA Division I First Round
1975–76 Alabama 23–5 15–3 1st NCAA Division I Second Round
1976–77 Alabama 25–6 14–4 3rd NIT Fourth Place
1977–78 Alabama 17–10 11–7 4th
1978–79 Alabama 22–11 11–7 T–3rd NIT Third Place
1979–80 Alabama 18–12 12–6 T–3rd NIT Second Round
Alabama: 211–123 131–85
Vanderbilt Commodores (Southeastern Conference) (1981–1989)
1981–82 Vanderbilt 15–13 7–11 T–7th
1982–83 Vanderbilt 19–14 9–9 T–4th NIT Second Round
1983–84 Vanderbilt 14–15 8–10 T–7th
1984–85 Vanderbilt 11–17 4–14 10th
1985–86 Vanderbilt 13–15 7–11 7th
1986–87 Vanderbilt 18–16 7–11 T–8th NIT Quarterfinal
1987–88 Vanderbilt 20–11 10–8 T–4th NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1988–89 Vanderbilt 19–14 12–6 T–2nd NCAA Division I First Round
Vanderbilt: 129–115 64–80
Total: 509–375

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


External links[edit]