Lambert, Ward L. (Piggie) (1888-1958) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Ward L. "Piggie" Lambert was born May 28, 1888 in Deadwood, South Dakota. He was a well-known college men's basketball coach. He played basketball (in addition to baseball) at Crawfordsville High School and Wabash College, both under coach Ralph Jones, who himself would go on the coach Purdue. Despite his short 5'6" size, he led the team in scoring his sophomore year - leading to his nickname "Piggie" for hogging the ball. He graduated from Wabash College in 1911.
Lambert coached Purdue University (1916-17, 1918-46) to a 371-152 record in 29 seasons, including 11 Big Ten titles. His teams were noted for their speed and effective use of fast breaks, which he developed. Among his players were Charles "Stretch" Murphy and John Wooden. Lambert missed the 1917-18 season to serve in the Army during World War I. Meanwhile J. J. Maloney, an attorney from Crawfordsville, Indiana, filled in and guided the Boilermakers to an 11-5 record. Lambert's 1932 team were national champions, as determined by a panel vote rather than an NCAA Tournament which began in 1939. He coached 16 All-Americans and 31 first team All-Big Ten selections. Lambert Fieldhouse bears his name which once served as the facility for home basketball games.
Lambert wrote Practical Basketball in 1932, one of the first "bibles" of the game. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.
Coach Lambert died January 20, 1958.