The “Kangaroo Kid” was the second ex-Lakers player to try coaching his former team and he fared only slightly better than the first, George Mikan, had two seasons earlier. Pollard, known for his sensational leaping ability, was a forward on Stanford University’s 1942 national championship team, then joined George Mikan and Vern Mikkelsen in Minneapolis to form one of the best frontcourts in league history. He retired in 1955 having won six titles—one each in the National Basketball League and Basketball Association of America and four more in the NBA. He was a four-time All-Star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
Prior to replacing John Castellani as the Lakers’ coach, Pollard had compiled a 48-28 record in three seasons as men’s basketball coach at La Salle University. He was named interim head coach only 36 games into the Lakers’ 1959-60 season and led the squad to 14 wins in its final 39 games. Despite a lineup that featured Elgin Baylor, Frank Selvy and Hot Rod Hundley, the Lakers finished 25-50, third in the Western Division. They swept Detroit in the division semifinals before losing to the St. Louis Hawks in seven games in the division finals.
With a move to the West Coast imminent, the Lakers did not retain Pollard, who went on to be the first coach of the Chicago Packers in 1961-62. He became the first coach of the ABA’s Minnesota Muskies in 1967-68 and remained the coach when the team relocated to Miami and was renamed the Miami Floridians. He was fired halfway through the 1969-70 season and spent two more seasons coaching at Florida Atlantic University.
Thus, Pollard is the answer to the trivia question “Who was the last coach of the Minneapolis Lakers?”