Jerry Welsh, one of Duke Recreation and Physical Education’s adjunct instructors, was recently inducted into the North Country Sports Basketball Hall of Fame. A feat impressive in itself, but what is even more impressive is that his recent induction marks the sixth time he’s earned Hall of Fame accolades.
Welsh currently teaches both Basketball & Theory and Practice of Coaching for Duke Recreation & Physical Education, and brings a plethora of coaching knowledge, accolades and excellence to his students. Now in his 60th year in education as either a teacher, coach or athletic director, Welsh has worked at Massena Central School, Potsdam State University, Iona College, and now Duke University. He graduated from Massena High School in 1954, Ithaca College in 1958, and received a Master’s Degree from St. Lawrence in 1964.
His success as a coach is easily shown by the numbers. Welsh’s overall combined coaching record of 693 wins and 218 losses from Massena High School, SUNY Potsdam and Iona College makes him one of America’s most successful basketball coaches. However, his accomplishments delve deeper than just his win-loss record. During his 22 years as a head men’s basketball coach at SUNY Potsdam, Jerry Welsh became a living legend tallying 494 wins and 141 losses.
While coaching at SUNY Potsdam, his teams won two Division III National Championships, and finished as National Runners-Up in 1979, 1982, and 1985. They won nine NCAA East Regional Championships from 1979-1989.The Bears also won or tied for the State University of New York Athletic Conference regular season championship fifteen consecutive years from 1976-1977 through 1990-1991. Potsdam owns the Division III record of 60 consecutive wins which is the second longest winning streak in all three divisions of NCAA Men’s Basketball. In honor of his successes on the court, in 2001 the Postdam Gymnasium was renamed the Jerry Welsh Gymnasium.
Off the court, Welsh has been recognized for his success by being named National Coach of the Year four times. He has been inducted into six different Basketball Hall of Fames, which include the Massena High School Hall of Fame; Postdam State University Hall of Fame; NY State Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame; Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame; Ithaca College Hall of Fame; and, most recently, the North Country Sports Hall of Fame, as part of their inaugural class. He has also served as the coach of the USA Men’s Basketball Team at the World Cup Games in Barcelona, Spain in 1985. Additionally, he spent 17 years as a college talent scout for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers until he retired from scouting in 2015.
When asked to speak on his career as a coach, Welsh reflected, “I have been very fortunate to have coached a very dedicated, hardworking, unselfish and team oriented group of players who take great pride in their work.”
Congratulations Jerry Welsh on your most recent Hall of Fame Induction!