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Mr. Iba

He called his offense ''the horse-and-buggy'' and his defense
''the swinging gate.'' No wonder Henry Iba, who died last week at 88,
seemed forever stuck in a simpler era. The Olympic gold medals that
U.S. teams coached by Iba won in 1964 and '68 were eclipsed by the
one he didn't win, in '72, when the Americans fell victim to the
sport's stormiest finish and Iba was criticized for a slow-down style
that made it appear that time had passed him by.
But basketball derives much of its current essence from Iba, who
won NCAA titles in 1945 and '46 at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State),
where he coached for 36 years until his retirement in 1970, and who
ranks behind only Adolph Rupp, and Clarence (Bighouse) Gaines on
college coaching's victory list, with 767. The motion offense used by
coaches like Indiana's Bob Knight and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is
largely his. So is the man-to-man defense with zone principles so
widely employed today. Among the buds on the many branches of the Iba
tree are at least 25 active coaches -- from his son Moe, the coach at
TCU, to UTEP's Don Haskins, who played for Iba, to Cleveland State's
Mike Boyd, a fifth-generation coaching descendant of the man everyone
called Mr. Iba.
Iba's teams were famed for their deliberate offenses, and to him
there was no greater sin than a bad shot. ''I'm not against
shooting,'' he once said. ''I'm against bad shooting. I want my boys
to shoot. I love my boys to shoot. But glory be, make it a good
shot.'' That would make a most felicitous epitaph.