John MacLeod memorial photo

Former Irish Head Coach John MacLeod Passes Away

John MacLeod, Notre Dame men’s basketball head coach from 1991-92 through 1998-99, passed away at the age of 81 on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

MacLeod led the Irish to 106 victories in his eight seasons on the bench, helping usher the program from its independent roots into a key member of the BIG EAST Conference. Notre Dame joined the BIG EAST for the 1995-96 season and MacLeod earned the league’s Coach of the Year award in 1997 after guiding the team to a 16-14 record and 8-10 mark in league play.

“Coach MacLeod was a class act on all fronts,” Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey said. “He was a great educator to so many young people here at Notre Dame and I am forever grateful to him for mentoring me when I first got the job here 19 years ago.”  

MacLeod coached or recruited Matt Carroll, LaPhonso Ellis, Pat Garrity, Troy Murphy and Monty Williams — all of whom are listed among the greatest players to ever don the blue and gold. In his first season at Notre Dame, MacLeod helped the Irish finish 18-15 and advance to the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament.

A success at both the collegiate and professional levels, MacLeod is the all-time winningest coach in Phoenix Suns history posting 579 wins from 1973 to 1987. He led the Suns to the 1976 NBA Finals and helped the Dallas Mavericks to game seven of the Western Conference finals in 1999. MacLeod completed his NBA career with a 707-57 record, the 18th-most wins in league history.

In addition to his time at Notre Dame, MacLeod also coached collegiately at Oklahoma from 1967-73. He finished with a 196-193 record overall as a college coach.

An Indiana native, MacLeod starred at Providence High School in Clarksville, Indiana, and played for Bellarmine University (1956-59) in Louisville. MacLeod was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005, the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor in 2012 and the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

MacLeod is survived by his wife, Carol, son, Matt, and daughter, Kathleen. Matt played for his father at Notre Dame from 1997 through 1999.