Former La Salle star Tom Gola dies

By Michelle Kapusta,

Image of Tom Gola Arena courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Hall of Fame basketball player and La Salle great, Tom Gola, died on Sunday in Meadowbrook, Pa. He was 81.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gola had been trying to recuperate ever since a fall he suffered in 2003, which left him with a head injury.

The La Salle star led the school to the NIT title in 1952 and NCAA title in 1954. In 1956, he was a key figure in helping the Philadelphia Warriors win the NBA championship, the Associated Press notes.

"I am deeply saddened to hear the news about the passing of Tom Gola, a former teammate and one of the true gentlemen of the game," said Warriors teammate Al Attles in a statement Sunday night. "He was a Hall of Fame player, but an even better person. His nickname was `Saint' and for good reason. He had a huge impact on the Warriors' early success in Philadelphia and of course, was part of the original team that moved west to San Francisco in 1962. My sympathy goes out to his entire family. He will be missed."

In 1998, La Salle had the Tom Gola Arena named in his honor.

The Philadelphia basketball legend is survived by his wife, Caroline, son, Thomas, and two granddaughters.

 
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