John Castellani


  • 11 wins
  • 25 losses
  • 0.3 win percentage


Season NBA Title

Coached one season


Who coached the Lakers during their last season in Minneapolis? Careful, it’s a trick question. Two men share that distinction, but the first is the fiery Seattle University coach who led Elgin Baylor and the Chieftains to the 1958 NCAA championship game, in which they lost to legendary coach Adolph Rupp and his Kentucky Wildcats. Castellani resigned when the school was slapped with a two-year postseason ban for recruiting violations. He talked his way into the Lakers job largely because of his relationship with Baylor, who had foregone his senior year at Seattle to accept a big contract with Minneapolis.

Brash and confident, Castellani thought his coaching philosophy would carry over to the NBA, but he was fired by the midpoint of the season with the Lakers foundering. He went on to attend law school at Marquette and made a successful career as an attorney in Milwaukee.

— Steve Galluzzo
Feb. 12, 2011