Coach Charles "C.M." Martin Newton
February 2, 1930 – June 4, 2018
C.M. Newton, who began a long association with college basketball as a self-admitted backup player to legendary coach Adolph Rupp and became legendary in his own right, has died in Tuscaloosa, where his rise to international prominence began as head basketball coach at The University of Alabama.
Charles Martin Newton was 88 years old. He was born in Rockwood, Tenn., on Feb. 2, 1930, and was raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He died Monday, June 4, 2018, at Hospice of West Alabama.
Coach Newton was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000, the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006, and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame last year.
C.M. was preceded in death by his childhood sweetheart and wife of 49 years, Evelyn Davis Newton. He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Nancy Watts Newton. He also is survived by his children, Deborah Newton, Tracy Chappelle, and Martin Newton (Cindy); stepdaughters Laura Fletcher and Sherry Plott; grandchildren, Katie Champion, Madison Wood (Andrew), Charles Martin Newton III, Joshua Newton, Sheridan Chappelle, Davis Chappelle, Bill David Plott, Sage Hickman, Liza Fletcher and Hunter Plott; great grandchildren, Charles Martin Newton IV and Sawyer Champion; brother Lt Col. Richard Y. Newton, Jr.; nephews William F. Bryan (Becky) and Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III (Jody); and niece Catherine Ahlwardt (El).
He also was predeceased by sister Jean Newton Bryan, sister-in-law Ruth Newton, father Richard Yates Newton, and mother Adelia Martin Newton.
Last year he was the subject of an ESPN Films production, “Courage Matters: The C.M. Newton Story.”
C.M. Newton was closely associated with two of the giants of intercollegiate athletics, having played for (and later competed against) Adolph Rupp and having been hired as Alabama’s head basketball coach in 1968 by Crimson Tide Athletics Director Paul Bryant based on Rupp’s recommendation. “Newt” as he was known to Coach Rupp, was a member of the UK 1951 national championship team.
C.M. Newton came to be considered the most influential man in the game. From 1992 to 1996, he was president of USA Basketball. Under his direction professional basketball players were added to the United States Olympic basketball team, including the 1992 “Dream Team.”
From 1979 to 1985 he was chair of the NCAA Rules Committee. During his tenure the NCAA adopted the shot clock, the three-point line, and the coaches’ box. He was a member of the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee, overseeing the NCAA Tournament from 1992 through 1999, including the last two years as chairman.
In 1998 a survey done by the San Antonio Express-News proclaimed him “the most powerful man in college basketball.”
Coach Newton was head basketball coach for 12 years at Transylvania College in Lexington following a brief career as a pitcher in the New York Yankees chain.
In 12 seasons at Alabama, Coach Newton led the Crimson Tide to a record of 211-123, and Bama became the only school other than Kentucky to win three consecutive Southeastern Conference championships (1974, 1975, and 1976). He is the only Alabama basketball coach in history to be selected back-to-back SEC Coach of the Year (1975 and 1976). His Bama squads were the first to earn National Invitation and NCAA tournament berths.
Following the 1980 season, he became an assistant commissioner for the SEC. In 1981 he was back in coaching at Vanderbilt and led them to a 129-115 mark in eight years and two trips to the NCAA Tournament.
His final career move was to his alma mater, becoming director of athletics at Kentucky. He was named national AD of the year in 1999 and retired in 2000, eventually moving to Tuscaloosa.
Special thanks to caregivers Andrew Croom and Lorenza Allen; Caring Days (Vickie Kerr and Laderrick Smith); and firefighters of Station 10.
Honorary pallbearers will be former players, managers, trainers, and associates of Coach Newton at Transylvania, Alabama, and Vanderbilt.
Services will be Thursday, June 14th 2018 at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with Rev. James Goodlet officiating with Heritage Chapel Funeral Home & Cremations, a Dignity Memorial provider directing. A reception will follow the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The Arc of Tuscaloosa County (1330 University Blvd. E, Tuscaloosa 35404), Caring Days Adult Day Care (943 31st St, Tuscaloosa 35405), and Hospice of West Alabama (3851 Loop Road, Tuscaloosa 35404).
Condolences may be offered at www.HeritageChapelTuscaloosa.com.
He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Nancy Watts Newton. He also is survived by his children, Deborah Newton, Tracy Chappelle, and Martin Newton (Cindy); stepdaughters Laura Fletcher and Sherry Plott; grandchildren, Katie Champion, Madison Wood (Andrew), Charles Martin Newton III, Joshua Newton, Sheridan Chappelle, Davis Chappelle, Bill
David Plott, Sage Hickman, Liza Fletcher and Hunter Plott; great grandchildren, Charles Martin Newton IV and Sawyer Champion; brother Lt Col. Richard Y. Newton, Jr.; nephews William F. Bryan (Becky) and Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III (Jody); and niece Catherine Ahlwardt (El).
- Memorial Service Thursday, June 14, 2018
Coach Charles "C.M." Martin Newton
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Jimmy Lee III
June 18, 2018
Dear Newton family,
We offer our sincerest condolences for the loss of C.M. In honor of Coach Newton, a gift has been made in the amount of $250 to Alabama Children's Hospital Foundation.
Please know our thoughts and prayers are with your family during this time.
With deepest sympathy,
Jimmy Lee III and the entire Buffalo Rock family
111 Oxmoor Rd
Birmingham, AL 35209
June 13, 2018
Sorry for the loss of a great man.I attended a recruiting dinner at Transylvania in 1966.It was the only time my father ever attended a formal dinner and Mr.Newton made him feel at ease.Unfortunately for me I never got the chance to play for him.I saw him 25 years later at a UK football game and he recognized me out of a crowd and called me by my first name,I was so impressed.That is one of the highlights of my life,that was the type of person he was.Coach Newton will be missed by all.
June 11, 2018
To the family of C.M.Newton,
In the 1960's I attended Camp Sparta in Sebring Florida. It was a sports camp and it was there that I met Coach Newton. I came from a family of divorce, which in the early 60's was kind of a embarrassment for a 7 yr. old boy who never knew his father. I have never, or will ever forget
how nice Coach Newton was to me! He always had a smile and encouraging word for me, and somehow , even at that age I knew he cared about me. I wished he was my father! One summer
I was trying to learn to do a one and a half somersault off the diving board in the lake. I kept almost getting it, mostly wiping out with faceplants in the water. I wanted to quit, as it was pretty painful,
but Coach Newton kept encouraging me, and coaching me, and I finally got it! As I walked back up to my cabin, Coach Newton announced over the camp PA system about my accomplishment and I felt so proud! Thank you Coach! For not letting me give up,and teaching me to never give up! My heartfelt condolences to the entire Newton family, he was a Great man,but you all know that! Sincerely, Don LeMay
June 11, 2018
It was a privilege to serve as one of coach Newton's radio announcers in his years at Alabama.
I haven't forgotten the game against Kentucky at Memorial Coliseum in 1978. That game was NOT televised, and Alabama upset the Wildcats. I was the play-by-play guy for that one.
I also have great memories of the first appearance by Alabama at the NIT, where we stayed for eight days and had coach/ athletic director Paul Bryant with us for some of the games. There was also the 1976 season and a dominating NCAA win over North Carolina, followed by a heartbreaking last-minute loss to undefeated Indiana.
Coach Newton and his assistants were great doing interviews with me for the Alabama network.
Coach was easy to work with and always friendly.
I know his son Martin, athletic director at Samford, where I graduated. I broadcast the basketball games he played for Tuscaloosa High.
God bless this fine family.
June 8, 2018
The Big Blue Nation of University of Kentucky mourns the loss of one of our greats! Forever in our hearts!
June 8, 2018
Coach Newton was a great Coach but truthfully he was just a good and descent man who went out of his way to help people as well, even for a walkon at Alabama like me. I could always crack a good joke with him and get him to laugh, that was one reason I always liked him as a Coach. He influenced so many people at Alabama, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. He will be missed.
June 8, 2018
Coach Newton was a great coach in Basketball as well as life. I went to Alabama and played the first four years he was at Bama. Although we weren't great in those building years, he coached us to significant victories over Louisville and LSU with Pete Maravich. He was a great coach and man.
June 7, 2018
C. M. was a treasured professional colleague with the NABC, NCAA and basketball. I found him to be thoughtful, creative and caring as a mentor and friend. Thank you for your friendship, guidance and memories. RI P, C M You will be remembered. Jerry Krause, Gonzaga University
June 7, 2018
C.M. was a Giant in College Basketball !!! He was a friend to Coaches, Administrators and players alike for many decades. I am proud that C.M. was a true Friend and I will miss him greatly. Jim Brandenburg
Al and Betty Robinson
June 6, 2018
Enjoyed many visits with C.M. and his family at our lake home. He was always a class act . C.M. was a great friend and we will cherish the many memories we had with him.
June 6, 2018
CM Newton was big, not only in stature, in character as well. My father and CM were friends, both married and raising kids. His wife, Evelyn, called my mom preacher, and I never knew why, until I was a teen. They lived in Zandale, and we lived in Gainsway, and we kids loved riding down Tates Creek Rd to visit. Debbie, Tracy and Martin were just as happy and engaging as their parents, and we all enjoyed making memories. CM showed us patience, kindness and basketball. My Dad was so excited when CM got the job at Transy, and we were front row center at many games. When he moved to Tusculsa, we were so sad, that my parents took us down there to visit. Wow, the home sat out in the woods, and I remember a real balance beam out under the trees, so that Debbie could practice. We Kentucky people had in one visit converted to the newest Roll Tide fans. That's CMs impact. You wanted to be around his gentle soul. After our visit, we kids received a big box in the mail. CM sent us the old Alabama basketball uniform tops, so we all dressed out in our red and white gear, sending the pictures to the Newtons. Life and time has a way of separating the people you love, and we were no different. Thay may say that Bear Bryant was the biggest star in Alabama, but I know better. Rest in peace, and to all the Newton children and grandchildren, thank you for sharing your Dad !❤