Former Knick Tom Gola is a Philadelphia Big Five basketball icon who led La Salle College to the National Invitation Tournament championship in 1952 and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship in 1954 and holds the NCAA record for most rebounds in a career. He helped the Philadelphia Warriors win the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship as a rookie in 1956 and was named an All-Star five times before retiring in 1966. But Gola also had many amazing successes as a coach; his La Salle Explorer teams were an important part of the national collegiate basketball landscape. In 1976, Gola was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
He played his last three and a half seasons for the Knicks, from 1962-66, averaging 11.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 4.7 rpg in 277 games in N.Y.
Transitioning from the NBA to politics, Gola served as Pennsylvania state representative and then Philadelphia city controller. His dedication to public service included a joint campaign with politician Arlen Specter that revolutionized political marketing in Philadelphia.
In this definitive biography, reporter David Grzybowski draws on not only his exclusive 2013 interviews with Gola but also anecdotes by such legends of Philadelphia and basketball history as John Chaney, Fran Dunphy, and Lionel Simmons. Mr. All-Around: The Life of Tom Gola (Publication Date: December 15, 2018) is a heartfelt testament to the life, career, and legacy of one of Philadelphia’s most beloved sports legends.
Grzybowski is a former television news reporter for WPHL in Philadelphia, where he covered the 2015 visit by Pope Francis, the annual Philadelphia Mummers Parade, the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and the 2016 Villanova Wildcats NCAA championship run. He also reported for WNCN in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he covered both the 2017 University of North Carolina NCAA championship title run and Hurricane Matthew.