Sam Cozen, a star high school and college basketball player and coach, had the distinction of coaching one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game. He coached the legendary Wilt Chamberlain during his tenure as the coach of the Overbrook High team in the 1950s.
Among the great players he coached at Overbrook were Hal Lear, Dippy Corosi, Freddy Douglas and Jackie Moore. In 1952, the same year Chamberlain arrived at Overbrook, Cozen also accepted the head coaching position at Drexel University. He coached the Dragons until 1968 and today is still Drexel’s winningest basketball coach with 213 wins and 94 losses. Eleven of his 15 teams went on to win Middle Atlantic Conference, Southern Division Championships and four of his teams went on to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
A star player at South Philadelphia High School, he played for Temple University and the Jewish Basketball League. He joined the Overbrook staff in 1942 and first coached junior varsity baseball and football. In fact, he coached Overbrook to its first football championship.
He always believed that his greatest contributions as a coach were not measured by championships or competitive achievements, but by his influence over the daily lives of the young men he guided.
Related Personal Stories:
From Overbrook High to Drexel in One Day
A Lot Can Happen in 10 Seconds