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Matty Begovich

Sport: Basketball

Born: October 2, 1910

Died: November 20, 1966

Town: Hoboken

Mathew William Begovich was born October 2, 1910 in Hoboken. The boy everyone called “Matty” grew up across the river in New York City—and didn’t stop growing until he attained the height of 6’5”. Matty enrolled at St. John’s University and played center for the school’s famous “Wonder Five.” His teammates included Rip Gerson, Mac Kinsbrunner, Max Posnack an Allie Schuckman. The squad went 68–4 between 1928 and 1931. They weren’t a flashy group; they played smart, deliberate, mistake-free basketball.

In 1932, the Wonder Five had their college eligibility revoked for playing against pro teams. So they formed their own pro team, the Brooklyn Jewels. Matty played pro ball until World War II. He also coached the basketball team at John Marshall College in Jersey City for five years, and even spent a couple of years with the FBI. In the early 1940s. Eventually, he became a salesman for U.S. Steel, but continued his association with basketball.

Madison Square Garden hoops fans knew Matty as one of the game’s most respected referees. He began officiating near the end of his playing days, in 1939, and retired in 1959. He worked five NIT finals during that time, as well as the 1943 NCAA Tournament final.

Matty passed away in Miami Beach at the age of 56.


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