Prior to his death in the summer of 2021, Larry "Coach" Creger served in the role of Vice President, Business Development & Relationship Manager for Professional Basketball. Larry Creger was the uncle of BFF Financial’s founder Brad Creger.
ABA Champion Utah Stars
Larry was an assistant coach (under Head Coach Bill Sharman) in the ABA with the Los Angeles Stars beginning in 1968 (which became the Utah Stars in 1970) and later in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers. Coach Sharman and Coach Creger led the 1970-71 Utah Stars to an ABA Championship which caught the attention of Jack Kent Cooke. When Bill Sharman left the Stars the following season (1971-72) to become the Head Coach for the Lakers, Sharman asked Larry to follow him to Los Angeles to serve as the assistant coach for the Lakers.
Heading West for the Los Angeles Lakers
Larry refused to “break his contract” with team owner Bill Daniels and the Stars as he had a few seasons remaining on his contract, and instead Larry opted to join Sharman in Los Angeles with the Lakers beginning with the 1974-75 season. Once in Los Angeles and again coaching with Bill Sharman, Larry served as Sharman’s Assistant Coach (with the Lakers) until Bill was forced to retire from coaching professional basketball due to an extreme case of laryngitis. Unlike in today’s game, back in the ’60’s, ’70’s and early ’80’s each professional basketball team used to have a Head Coach and usually just one Assistant Coach (sometimes two.)
Larry also coached and/or held front office positions with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons. Larry Creger coached many NBA greats including: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lucius Allen, Elgin Baylor, Zelmo Beaty, Wilt Chamberlain, Dell Curry (father of current NBA players Stephen Curry and Seth Curry), Gail Goodrich, Stu Lantz (current Lakers TV Commentator), Stan Love (father of current NBA player Kevin Love), Pat Riley, Cazzie Russell, Kermit Washington, Jerry West, and Brian Winters to name a few.
Larry was also instrumental in the drafting & signing of Moses Malone to play for the Utah Stars. Malone was the first-ever high school player drafted to play professional basketball.
Coach Creger's Summer Pro League
Coach Creger’s legacy to the game of professional basketball is that he is widely recognized as having the vision and foresight to create and organize the first “Summer Pro League” in professional basketball. Larry’s original Los Angeles based summer pro league is credited by numerous former NBA players as a major contributing factor to their success in basketball. Many of these same former players, including many who went on to coach or join the front office, also feel they may never would have had a professional basketball career without having the opportunity to play in Coach Creger’s summer pro league.
The original summer pro league concept was to create an environment for returning players to work on their game as well as to give an opportunity for unsigned players to “show their stuff.” Larry ran the league from the mid 1970’s until he sold it in 1992.
Larry is survived by his wife Darlene, two children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Larry Creger was not affiliated with Centaurus Financial.