Esteemed SUNY Potsdam basketball coach Lou LaGrande passes
POTSDAM -- SUNY Potsdam Hall of Fame coach, professor emeritus and prolific author Louis LaGrand passed away Tuesday, June 4, in his home in Venice, Fla. at the age of 83.
LaGrand became the sixth men's basketball coach at SUNY Potsdam in 1962 and wasted no time making a strong impression. The Bears split their first six decisions of the 1962-63 season before catching fire and winning 16 games in a row. LaGrand's Bears capped the year with a 49-40 victory over the University at Albany for Potsdam's first New York state college conference title.Potsdam claimed its second conference championship under LaGrand in 1965-66 with a 16-5 record earning the team’s first ever NCAA tournament berth. In seven seasons as Bears head coach, 1962-68 and 1969-70, LaGrand amassed a 93-50 record.
LaGrand served as a member of the college's faculty from 1962-92. He started the first course on bereavement and death at the college. LaGrand was as grief counselor for over 40 years. He wrote numerous articles and was the best-selling author of eight books, including "Healing Grief, Finding Peace: 101 Ways to Cope with the Death of Your Loved One", which was published in 2011.
LaGrand was the founding president of Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley and a member of the board of directors and chairperson of the nominations committee of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. When he passed, LaGrand was serving as the bereavement coordinator at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Venice and the director of Loss Education Associates.
LaGrand was a SUNY Cortland standout basketball player. He also earned master's degrees from the University of Notre Dame (1958) and Columbia University (1962) as well as a Ph.D. from Florida State (1970).
LaGrand is survived by Barbara, his wife of 55 years, sons Christopher, Gregory, Scott, and Stephen as well as five grandchildren.
A funeral mass is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, in Florida.
Arrangements are with the Farley Funeral Homes, Venice, Fla.
His obituary can be read here.