Remembering Blair Gullion

Men’s Basketball Coach, 1947–59

The legendary Blair Gullion served as director of athletics and head coach of the Washington University men’s basketball team from 1947 to 1959. (Washington University Archives)

Blair Gullion served the university as director of athletics and head basketball coach. He began his 12-year stint on the Hilltop Campus (now Danforth Campus) in 1947 after coaching at Earlham, Tennessee, Cornell and Connecticut. Along with Chancellor Arthur Holly Compton, Gullion, in his first year, initiated Washington University’s Amateur Athletic Program — the birth of the Bears’ current athletic philosophy.

Gullion’s 27-year coaching record was 321–192. He ranks second in career basketball victories at Washington University with 134. Gullion is enshrined in College Basketball’s Hall of Fame.

His contributions to Washington University also include serving as professor and head of the physical education department, which awarded bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at the time. He introduced the Freshman Advising Program and developed FOCUS, a program that offers first-year students close relationships with professors and students who have similar interests in humanities-based study.

Alumni from the Gullion years still remember his influence on and off the court. A group of former players gathered for a reunion in December 2011, taking in a men’s basketball practice and game.

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