Pete Carril, legendary college basketball coach who perfected the ‘Princeton Offense,’ dead at 92

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Pete Carril, the legendary college basketball coach who perfected the “Princeton Offense,” has died, his family said in a statement on Monday. He was 92.

Princeton University said Carril died peacefully early Monday.

“The Carril family is sad to report that Coach Peter J. Carril passed away peacefully this morning,” the statement read. “We kindly ask that you please respect our privacy at this time as we process our loss and handle necessary arrangements. More information will be forthcoming in the following days.”

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Guard Sydney Johnson and coach Pete Carril of the Princeton Tigers celebrate after a game against the UCLA Bruins at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. 
(Jamie Squire/Allsport)

Carril coached the Princeton Tigers men’s basketball team from 1967 to 1996 and led the Tigers to 13 Ivy League championships and an NIT championship in 1975. He spent a season at Lehigh before joining Princeton and before that coached several Pennsylvania high school basketball teams.

The U.S. Army veteran wrapped his collegiate career in 1996 and helped push the Tigers to the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. He finished with 525 wins in his career, including 514 at Princeton alone. He would later become an assistant for the Sacramento Kings in three separate stints from 1996 to 2011.

Closeup of Princeton coach Pete Carril looking upset during game vs Syracuse at Worcester Centrum.

Closeup of Princeton coach Pete Carril looking upset during game vs Syracuse at Worcester Centrum.
(Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

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Carril’s death drew tributes on social media.

Carril is credited with perfecting the “Princeton Offense,” which has been taught at all levels of basketball.

The “Princeton Offense” isn’t necessarily position-based. There are four players outside the three-point arc with a player at the top of the key, and the ball is kept in constant motion in order to create separation from defenders to score easy baskets.

Former basketball coach Pete Carril looks on during a college basketball game between the Boston University Terriers and the American Eagles on Jan. 22, 2014 at the Bender Arena in Washington, DC. 

Former basketball coach Pete Carril looks on during a college basketball game between the Boston University Terriers and the American Eagles on Jan. 22, 2014 at the Bender Arena in Washington, DC. 
(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The use of the strategy often meant low-scoring games. Most notably, Princeton won on a backdoor cut against UCLA in the 1995 men’s basketball tournament.

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Carril was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.