One of three Georgetown coaches selected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame, Buddy Jeannette was one of the nation's premier guards in the pre-NBA era of professional basketball.
A graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, Jeannette led the Presidents to a 41-19 record over three seasons, where he earned All-America honors. A 12 year career in the pros followed, many among now forgotten teams such as the Detroit Eagles and the Sheboygan Redskins. After three years with the Ft. Wayne Pistons, Jeannette relocated to Baltimore, where he led the Bullets to back to back titles in the NBL and BAA, the precursory leagues to the National Basketball Association. At 30, Jeannette became the first player-coach ever to win a modern pro basketball title.
Jeannette stayed with the Bullets for another two seasons as a player and three as a coach through 1951. In 1952, following Buddy O'Grady's resignation, Georgetown officials extended an offer for Jeannette to coach the Hoyas. With the school undergoing a deemphasis of athletics following its dropping football the season before, Jeannette would be a part-time coach who would commute from Baltimore, where he was operating a produce delivery business. With produce in less demand during the winter months, the two sides struck a deal and Jeannette arrived at Georgetown in the fall of 1952.
In a four year tenure at Georgetown, Buddy's best team was the 1952-53 Hoyas, a talented collection of players that had come up short two straight years under O'Grady. Playing a shorter schedule of just 19 regular season games, the Hoyas went 13-6 and earned its first ever NIT bid, falling to Louisville in the first round at Madison Square Garden. The 1953 season was GU's only post season appearance in a 27 year run from 1943 through 1970.
Jeannette's next three seasons were hampered by indifferent recruiting and an indifferent administration. Georgetown officials routinely suspended students who failed mid-term examinations, and offered no quarter for athletes that traveled in the weeks leading up to these exams. Over the next two seasons, Jeannette lost nine players and five starters in mid-season, either for academics or what the school called "discliplinary measures". As a result, Jeannette's teams never returned to the level of an NIT contender, and Georgetown officials cut ties with him in the spring of 1956, citing concern that Jeannette was not committed to basketball while running his business in Baltimore.
Following Georgetown, Jeannette coached two seasons in the NBA with the Baltimore Bullets and one season in the ABA with the Pittsburgh Pipers, which folded in 1972. He was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Buddy Jeannette died in 2008 at the age of 92.