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Joe O'Brien, 68; Led Advances at Basketball Hall of Fame

August 30, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Joe O'Brien, 68, a former president and chief executive of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, died Thursday in Worcester, Mass., after a long illness.

O'Brien became executive director of the Hall of Fame, which is in Springfield, Mass., in 1985. He became president and chief executive in 1993 and held those posts until 1998. In those positions, O'Brien spearheaded improvements in the museum's exhibits, computerization and staffing. He also played a key role in the Hall of Fame's current $100-million riverfront expansion.

Born in Bayonne, N.J., O'Brien played basketball at Assumption College in Worcester, where he earned his bachelor's degree. He earned a master's at Worcester State College.

He was head basketball coach at Assumption for 18 seasons until 1985, compiling a 321-173 win-loss record.

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