Basketball has been a major part of Larry Costello’s life, both as a player and a coach. Costello played for Minoa High School before starring at Niagara University. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 15 ppg for three seasons as a Niagara starter and was the Eagles all-time leading scorer with 1,275 points. His No. 69 jersey was retired by the school on Nov. 17, 2001. After wearing No. 24 for his first two seasons, he switched his number after playing 69 minutes, 40 seconds, in a six-overtime victory against Siena on Feb. 21, 1953.
Costello played 12 seasons in the NBA, including six for the Syracuse Nationals. He also played for the Philadelphia 76ers with Wilt Chamberlain and won the 1967 NBA championship. He made the NBA all-star team five times and twice led the league in foul shooting. Costello, one of the last players to use a two-handed set shot, scored 8,622 points and 3,215 assists in 706 career games.
A season after retiring as a player, Costello became the coach of the expansion Milwaukee Bucks in 1968-1969. In his third season, Costello guided the Bucks, led by Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson, to the 1971 NBA championship. He coached 10 years in the NBA, nine with the Bucks and one with the Chicago Bulls. He posted a professional coaching record of 430-300 in the regular season and 37-23 in the playoffs.
Costello, a member of the State Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, coached eight seasons at Utica College before retiring in 1988.
1952-1953: All-American at Niagara University; Charter member of the Niagara’s Basketball Hall of Fame
1954-1967: Played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Philadelphia Warriors, Syracuse Nationals and Philadelphia 76ers. Scored 8,622 points in 706 regular season games, had a 12.2 average and 3,215 assists. He added 592 points in 52 playoff games for an 11.4 average. Won the 1967 NBA title with the 76ers. Played in five NBA All-Star games and twice led the league in foul shooting
1960: Syracuse Athlete of the Year
1968-1969: Named head coach of the expansion Milwaukee Bucks where he would coach for nine seasons; one the first NBA coaches to use a full-time bench assistant and scout future opponents.
1970-1971: Won NBA championship coaching the Bucks
1980-1988: Coached at Utica College