In 1967, a high school coach was recommended as the right person to start an athletic program at Adelphi Suffolk College. He was hired to do that and coach the men’s basketball team. That was the beginning of the legendary career of Frank Layden.
After graduating from Niagara University with a B.S. in economics, Frank served two years in the army. Upon returning to civilian life, he accepted the JV coaching job at St. Agnes High School in Rockville Centre, NY. His success there landed him the coaching job at Seton Hall High School in Patchogue, where his team posted a 21-3 record in the 1964-65 season.
From there, he made his mark at Adelphi Suffolk in just one year. He began the athletic program and coached the men’s basketball squad to a 13-5 record. Frank returned to his alma mater in 1968 as athletic director and head coach. In eight seasons, he guided Niagara to 119 victories, a berth in the NCAA Tournament and two trips to the NIT playoffs. Among the players he coached at Niagara was All-American and NBA All-Star Calvin Murphy.
Frank moved to the NBA in the late 1970s as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks. On May 9, 1979, he was named general manager of the Utah Jazz. He became the team’s head coach in 1981 and went on to post 277 wins in six-plus seasons. His clubs earned a berth in the playoffs five straight seasons. Frank was the 1983-84 NBA Coach of the Year and NBA Executive of the Year. That same year, he was the recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Frank retired from coaching in 1988, but was always a coach at heart, he returned to the bench 10 years later to lead the Utah Starzz of the WNBA.
Frank, who recently inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, has received honorary degrees from Westminster College, Niagara University, and Dowling College.
Frank is currently a senior consultant of the New York Knicks. His son, Scott, served as the general manager of the New York Knicks until leaving the organization in 2004. Frank and his wife, Barbara, have two other children, Mike and Katie, and seven grandchildren. They reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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