June 27, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former basketball All-American John Paxson, who played for the Irish from 1979-83, will be among five former student-athletes inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Hall of Fame on July 6, 2005 in Philadelphia, Pa. During his career at Notre Dame, Paxson earned Academic All-America honors on two occasions.
Paxson becomes the fourth Notre Dame graduate to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining football players Dave Casper (a 1993 inductee), Joe Theismann (1990) and Robert Thomas (1996). Notre Dame and Brigham Young are tied for second with the most inductees, trailing only UCLA’s five.
The former point guard, a native of Kettering, Ohio finished his four-year career with 1,366 (12.2 points per game) and 411 assists, which ranks 19th and seventh in school history, respectively. His 133 steals still rank eighth in Irish history, while his 86 games started ranks 13th and his .526 career field goal percentage stands 20th in the Notre Dame annals.
As a sophomore in 1980-81, Paxson led the Irish in assists, with a career-high 138 that season. He earned his first All-America recognition as a junior in 1981-82, averaging 16.4 points and dishing out 99 assists. The following year, Paxson captained the Irish to a 19-10 record, averaging a career-high 17.7 ppg., tallying 112 assists en route to claiming his second All-America selection. He also helped guide the Irish to NCAA appearances in ’80 and ’81.
A two-time Academic All-America honoree in ’82 and ’83, Paxson graduated from Notre Dame in ’83 with a degree in business administration after earning a 3.17 overall grade index. He and Irish greats Bob Arnzen and Pat Garrity are the only three basketball players in school history to earn Academic All-America accolades on more than one occasion.
A veteran of 11 NBA seasons, Paxson spent nine years with the Chicago Bulls, helping the club to three consecutive world championships. He started 369 games, and averaged 7.2 points and 3.6 assists per game as a pro. In the ’93 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, he sank a series-clinching 3-point shot with 3.9 seconds left to play, giving the Bulls the last of their three championships during his tenure.
Paxson spent the 1995-96 season as an assistant on the Bulls squad that went 72-10 and claimed yet another world title. Following that season, he moved up to the broadcast booth, where he spent seven seasons as a color analyst on the Bulls’ radio and television networks.
On April 14, 2003, Paxson was named the Bulls’ Vice President of Basketball Operations. This past year he was among 25 players named to Notre Dame’s All-Century Team.
Paxson and his wife, Carolyn, reside in Lake Bluff, Ill. They are the parents of two sons, Ryan and Drew.