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Shelby Metcalf dies at 76

Legendary men's basketball coach put A&M program on the map

Published: Friday, February 9, 2007

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

Shelby Metcalf, the defining coach in Texas A&M basketball, leaves behind a monumental legacy - a tradition of wins, wit and character.

Metcalf, 76, the former head coach of the A&M men's basketball team, died Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Nicknamed the Good Doctor, he is the winningest head coach in Southwest Conference history, leading A&M basketball to winning 23 seasons out of his 27-season career.

Metcalf was an outstanding coach who built the basketball program into a powerhouse with his talent and personality, said Alan Cannon, associate athletic director for A&M, who worked with Metcalf for many years.

"He put Aggie basketball on the map," Cannon said. "G. Rollie White was known as the Holler House on the Brazos. The big reason for that was the type of basketball teams the coach had."

Barry Davis, former assistant coach and player for Metcalf, said the coach was a genuine and dedicated man.

"He was a very down-to-earth person - just a good guy," he said of his lifelong friend. "He could be described in so many ways, he just had that kind of versatility."

Metcalf left a legacy of greatness and was a true Aggie who worked hard and had a strong sense of dedication.

"I'm very appreciative that I got the opportunity to be a part of his life," Davis said.

Besides his character, anecdotes and one-liners were something special about Metcalf.

He once told former guard Todd Holloway, who happened to be one of Metcalf's favorite players, "Todd, you'd have to be an All- American to break even."

Metcalf earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees while in his senior year of college at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M Commerce. He attended A&M Junior College before transferring to A&M Commerce.

He was an All-American basketball player who lead the ETSU team to the national championships in his senior year. Because of his achievements on the court, Metcalf was elected to the ETSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.

After serving in the Air Force and coaching high school basketball, he came to A&M in 1958 as freshman head coach. Metcalf was promoted to head coach for varsity basketball in 1963.

He was christened the Good Doctor after he earned his doctorate from A&M in 1974 with his dissertation, "Crowd Behavior at Southwest Conference Basketball Games."

He served as head coach until 1990.

"This is a terrible loss for not only Texas A&M but the state of Texas and the entire collegiate basketball community," said A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne, in a statement. "Not only was Shelby a great basketball coach, but he was a tremendous person."

Metcalf is survived by his wife, Janis, one daughter and two grandchildren.

Family was one of the only things Metcalf was more passionate about than basketball, Cannon said.

"We have been blessed to live in this wonderful community, which has been so supportive of Shelby and our family. We really appreciate all of the kindness and thoughtfulness through the years," Janis Metcalf said in a statement.

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