RICH NIEMANN

BASKETBALL

Born:July 2, 1946; St. Louis, MO
Position: Center
Played For: Detroit Pistons (1968-1969), Milwaukee Bucks (1969), Boston Celtics (1969-1970), Carolina Cougars (1970), The Floridians (1970-1971), Dallas Chaparrals (1971-1972)

My story begins and ends with gratitude. Throughout my life, people have been there to support and encourage my efforts. Starting with parents who expected my best and provided the means to achieve that, to the faculty and students at Bishop Dubourg High School, who instructed and prepared me for college, to the community at St. Louis University which provided real world knowledge and a chance to apply those skills.

We must all realize that whatever we have accomplished did not occur in a vacuum. Winning a state tournament in 1964 required sacrifice by my teammates and coaches. Without all of them , this victory does not happen.

St Louis U. was a great choice for me. The university provided a great education and a chance to play on the national stage. We played top ranked schools from UCLA to Louisville and many great teams in the Missouri Valley Conference.

I also had the opportunity to win gold at the World student games in Tokyo, and play in  South America and Europe made possible with recommendations from SLU. Two teammates and I went on to professional careers in the NBA and the now merged ABA.

Despite how the game may seem today, we worked hard to be the best teams we could be. Players helped each other because our success and our jobs depended upon performance.

My last basketball hurrah was a 30-plus year stint with Kutis Amateur Team. The members of that team were inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. The Kutis team was successful in winning two national amateur championships and many at the Missouri State Show-me games.

My real career was teaching. Some 32 years in the science classrooms of Mary Institute, Francis Howell and Brentwood plus a substitute position at Clayton were a gift that goes beyond thanks. The support (read teamwork) from fellow teachers and principals made these years wonderful. Along with teaching, I have had the opportunity to coach male and female athletes in high school, Meremac Community College, and assist at St Louis U.

My wife, Juli, has been a loving voice for almost 50 years. She is there in good times and bad, providing rock-solid backing and freedom to explore new challenges. SHE is the best
teammate ever!

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