Jul 15, 2011

Jack Laub: WWII Vet, Basketball Star, and Lifelong Bearcat

Jack Laub (A&S 1950) is a proud, lifelong Bearcat with some amazing talents. Since his time at UC, Jack has traveled the world and gained some incredible life experiences, but he will always treasure the time he spent both on and off the basketball courts at UC.

Most famously known for his basketball career, Laub began as a varsity player for Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY, joining the City College of New York after graduation. Laub played from 1943-1945 under coach Nat Holman, and has been recognized for his impressive performance, being elected to the City College of New York Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Laub during World War II

After attending City College of New York, Laub joined the Merchant Marines during World War II in 1944.  For his service and devotion to the United States in the liberation of France during WWII, Laub was conferred the honor of “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor, one of the highest honors awarded in France, this past June. After being discharged as a Lt. Sr. grade in 1946 as a Staff Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, he was awarded a basketball scholarship at the University of Cincinnati to pursue medical school as a psychology major.

Laub, nicknamed the "Black Cat", helped lead UC Bearcats Basketball to four conference championships, putting Cincinnati on the map as one of the top college basketball teams in the nation.  Since Laub played two years of basketball at City College and four years at UC, he is the only player in NCAA history to play for six varsity years.

After graduating from UC, Laub was one of the first two Bearcats to be drafted into the NBA in 1950.  Laub was recruited by the Baltimore Bullets, but was soon traded to the Minneapolis Lakers and eventually Scranton Miners.  While he was with the Miners, Laub helped the team win two championships.

"Black Cat" Laub
Laub stayed true to his connection with UC however, as he was eventually asked to be the university’s first assistant basketball coach. Laub was ecstatic to return to his alma mater, later serving as head scout for UC. As an assistant coach, Laub helped UC earn its first appearance in the National Invitation Tournament in 1951.

Laub left basketball for a time, joining Pfizer & Co. in 1954. Laub devoted his business career to reducing prescription costs for consumers, and together with business partners, helped pioneer the idea of discount drugs. He helped open the first discounted drug store chain in the New York area, and later helped open the first mail-order pharmacy, streamlining the purchase of generic drugs. Because of these achievements, UC's McMicken College of Arts & Sciences honored Laub with the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award.

In 1959, Laub returned to his basketball roots as head coach of the U.S. Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy at age 32, but has remained a proud Bearcat ever since!

Read more about Jack in UC Magazine.

Do you know Jack? What are your fondest memories of him or the basketball program during his time at UC? Post your comments below!

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