Born: January 5, 1952
Joseph Patrick Kennedy was born January 5, 1952 in Keyport. A good all-around athlete, Pat starred for the Red Bank Catholic basketball team and earned a scholarship to King’s College in Pennsylvania. There he came under the tutelage of Ed Donohue, who convinced Pat that his hoops future was in coaching, not playing. As a junior he was given the JV coaching job and led the team to 17 victories. The following year he joined Donohue as a varsity assistant coach.
Pat began his career in earnest in 1975–76, when he landed an assistant’s job with Lehigh. Two years later he moved to Iona, where he joined Jim Valvano’s staff. When Jimmy V was hired by NC State, Pat became the Gaels’ head coach. Pat led Iona to 110 wins in his first five seasons, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament. Iona also graduated more than 95 percent of its players while Pat was coaching.
In 1986–87, Pat took the Florida State job. He guided the Seminoles to seven consecutive winning seasons. In 1991 he was named ACC Coach of the Year. In 1992–93, Bob Sura had a breakout year and the Seminoles made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. In Pat’s last year at FSU, he led the club to the NIT Final.
Pat took over struggling programs at DePaul, Montana and Towson, and served as the President of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. In 2013, at the age of 61, he moved into the Division II ranks as head coach of Pace University. He retired in 2015 with 499 victories. More than two dozens of the players he coached made it to the NBA, including Jeff Ruland, Charlie Ward, Sam Cassell and Quentin Richardson.