ISBN 10: 1880325152 / ISBN 13: 9781880325155
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Synopsis: The Unique Charley Eckman, The Babe Ruth of Basketball Referees, NBA Coach and Sportscaster. Charley was the funniest man to make a living in sports. This book not only tells the story from Charley's viewpoint but retells the stories that have made his listeners laugh aloud.

Charley Eckman became a professional basketball referee at age 16. Top rated in the Basketball Association of America and its successor professional league, the National Basketball Association (NBA), he officiated in the first NBA All Star Game in Boston. Later, he stepped off center court to fire up players and fans alike, stirring excitement as the winning coach of one of the All Star games.

Eckman is the only one ever to go from basketball referee to professional basketball coach. As coach of the Pistons, he led his team to two Conference Championships and tied for second in his third year. He brought George Yardley off the Piston bench and made him a regular. Yardley entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.

He returned to officiating in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference and other college conferences. He was a regular at major tournaments, including the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA).

In the 1960s, Eckman launched a new career as an award-winning sportscaster. Starting with WCBM and then WFBR, he spent 23 years regaling sports fans with stories and insights on the world of sports competition. A popular figure wherever he appeared, his frequent speaking engagements won raves. He was also a legendary figure at thoroughbred race tracks throughout the Mid-Atlantic States.

Eckman was featured three times in Sports Illustrated, and also in the Saturday Evening Post, Sport Magazine, and Newsweek.

Charley was married 53 years to the former Wilma Howard. They had four children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Charley succumbed to cancer on July 3, 1995.:

From the Inside Flap: Charley Eckman became a professional basketball referee at age 16. Top rated in the Basketball Association of America and its successor professional league, the National Basketball Association (NBA), he officiated in the first NBA All Star Game in Boston. Later, he stepped off center court to fire up players and fans alike, stirring excitement as the winning coach of one of the All Star games.

Eckman is the only one ever to go from basketball referee to professional basketball coach. As coach of the Pistons, he led his team to two Conference Championships and tied for second in his third year. He brought George Yardley off the Piston bench and made him a regular. Yardley entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.

He returned to officiating in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference and other college conferences. He was a regular at major tournaments, including the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA).

In the 1960s, Eckman launched a new career as an award-winning sportscaster. Starting with WCBM and then WFBR, he spent 23 years regaling sports fans with stories and insights on the world of sports competition. A popular figure wherever he appeared, his frequent speaking engagements won raves. He was also a legendary figure at thoroughbred race tracks throughout the Mid-Atlantic States.

Eckman was featured three times in Sports Illustrated, and also in the Saturday Evening Post, Sport Magazine, and Newsweek.

Charley was married 53 years to the former Wilma Howard. They had four children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Charley succumbed to cancer on July 3, 1995.: Fred Neil produced the Baltimore Colt Football play-by-play broadcasts as News and Sports Director for WCBM. In addition, he produced, wrote, and shared the mike as co-host of shows with such sports luminaries as Johnny Unitas, Jimmy Orr, Ordell Braase, and Tom Matte of the Colts and Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles. Fred was also responsible for bringing Charley Eckman into radio as a regular and paired him with Art Donovan on the funniest sports program on the air, "Mayhem of 33rd Street."

Neil served as Press Officer for Mayor of Baltimore William Donald Schaefer, later elected Governor of Maryland. Fred went on to become Executive Director of the Maryland Mile Association of Tracks before serving as General Manager of the Baltimore Banners of World Team Tennis, the pro tennis team where he was Jimmy Connors' "boss."

Fred is the only person to have served as president of the Baltimore Sports Reporters, Baltimore Press Reporters and the Maryland Press Club. Awarded numerous peer-judged media awards while in broadcasting, he also won honors as the Public Affairs Officer for the Division of Rehabilitation Service, Maryland State Department of Education were he has served since 1980. A prolific author, he has penned countless publications and newsletters.

A frequent guest speaker, he was honored in 1996 with the Governor's Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities Print Media Award and the Golden Mike Award symbolic of induction into the Maryland Broadcasting Hall of Fame from the Golden Radio Buffs.

Married to the former Dawn Fischer, he has three children from a previous marriage

AUTHCOMMENTS; From Fred Neil, Co-author: This book is misnamed. The time should have been the Life and Laughter of Charley Eckman. He was the greatest basketball referee of his era. He astonished the sports world by coaching the Pistons to two Western Titles and a tie for a third (he had no coaching experience) , and then regaled Marylanders with his sometimes outrageous or controversial sportscasts.

He was called a character, but often characters are eccentric losers. Except at the race track, Charley was no loser. He was successful at nearly everything he did. If he wasn't successful, his ventures fueled a new lot of laugh a loud stories.

With the admission of George Yardley, in 1998, to the Basketball Hall of Fame and Fred Zollner's admission in 1999, one the of greats, Charley Eckman is still missing. Fred hired Charley. Charley took George off the bench and gave him his pro basketball opportunity, Our books provides a little history and a lot of laughs. Enjoy!

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