John Kundla graduated from the U of M in 1939 and in 1941 became assistant basketball coach for the Gophers. Other pursuits intervened, including teaching and coaching at DeLaSalle High School, service in WWII, and coaching the Minneapolis Lakers professional basketball team, but Kundla returned to the U in the 1959-1960 season to become the first alumnus to serve as Gophers basketball coach. He was the first U basketball coach to offer scholarships to African-Americans. Bobby Bell, who played on the Gophers football team that went to the Rose Bowl in 1961, became the first African-American to play for the basketball team. In the mid-1960s, future NBA All-Stars Archie Clark and Lou Hudson played for Kundla’s Gophers.
After the 1967-68 season, Kundla stepped down. He continued to teach in the U’s Physical Education Department (now the School of Kinesiology) until retiring in 1981.
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