Harvard coach Tommy Amaker knows quality on
and off the basketball court
As the team doctor for the Duke University men’s basketball
team, Mel Berlin talked mostly about sore muscles and sprained
ankles with members of the Blue Devils.
But Tommy Amaker had something else on his mind.
Whenever Dr. Berlin showed up at practice, Amaker, the 6-foot
1-inch star point guard from Falls Church, Virginia, a future
Duke Hall of Famer, All American, and National Defensive Player
of the Year, would make a beeline out of the training room to
check out the 1971 Mercedes 280SE 3.5 parked outside. The
coupe was a beauty and had been previously owned by pop and
country singer, Patti Page.
“I actually told him my freshman year, ‘I’m going to buy that car
from you,’” Amaker said.
Five years later, Amaker was fresh out of college, 108 career
wins at Duke and a national runner-up finish in 1986 under his
belt. Aiming for a career in basketball, he was working as a
graduate assistant on the coaching staff when Dr. Berlin called
his former player to see if he wanted to make good on the
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“He said, ‘I only want this car to be with someone I know who
loves it. If you want this car, come over here and I’ll give you a
great deal,’” Amaker recalled.
Amaker has been been admiring, collecting, and driving
Mercedes-Benz automobiles ever since.
In his blood
Today, Tommy Amaker is the head coach of the men’s
basketball team at Harvard University, an Executive Fellow at
the Harvard Business School, and a Special Assistant to the
Harvard President. He’s come a long way from his 20-something
days, working long hours on the sideline and scraping together
savings to buy his dream car, but the enthusiasm he f