Legendary coach Paul Webb dies, leaves indelible legacy, void

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Paul Webb had an impact that is impossible to measure on so many in the Hampton Roads basketball and sports community.

His legacy goes beyond the court and touches so many, spanning multiple generations.

Webb, who coached at Randolph Macon and Old Dominion universities, died Friday at his Virginia Beach home, his family told WAVY. He was 94.

His death comes two years to the day after his wife, Charlotte, died. The two, who met in high school, were married for 72 years.

For 58 years, Webb conducted his basketball camp for kids in the summer, so there’s a good chance you, your own children or other family members crossed paths with the icon in our Hampton Roads sports community.

Webb came to Old Dominion as the men’s basketball coach in 1975 after coaching at Randolph-Macon University in Ashland for 19 seasons.

In his first season in Norfolk taking over from Sonny Allen, who left to coach at Southern Methodist University after leading the Monarchs to the Division II national championship, Webb led the Monarchs to the Division II Final Four.

In ODU’s first year in Division I — the 1976-1977 season — Webb led the Monarchs to a home upset of Mississippi State, and road upsets of Georgetown and Virginia, on their way to a 25-4 season, winning 22 games in a row at one point and just missed out on being one of the 32 teams in the NCAA tournament after falling to Syracuse 67-64 before a frenzied sellout crowd at Scope for the ECAC championship game.

He spent 10 seasons as coach, leading ODU to nine postseason berths in 10 seasons — four times in the NCAA tournament and five times in the NIT — before retiring in 1986 with 196 wins at ODU and 511 for his career, at the time the fifth-highest win total in college basketball.

Webb, who likely had countless opportunities to coach elsewhere, was one of five finalists to replace Bill Foster at Duke, according to a 2022 story in the Raleigh News & Observer. At the time, Webb was 84-31 at ODU. Duke ended up hiring a coach — some guy named Mike Krzyzewski.

Webb, who was born in Petersburg and graduated from Petersburg High School and the College of William & Mary, impacted numerous lives at the college level, but his summer basketball camps for kids in Hampton Roads impacted countless lives in our area.

“I remember talking to him every summer, and it just seemed like his camps gave him so much life and enthusiasm,” ODU athletic director Wood Selig said. “I think he probably got more from his camps than his campers did, and I know they got a tremendous amount of knowledge and skill preparation. He was always so kind, and took whatever time anyone needed to speak with them. Very positive, always upbeat, supportive, a true gentleman. He leaves a big void for all of us at ODU, and certainly anyone associated with ODU basketball.”

“I never imagined back in 1965 when we started our camp for the first time that we’d be going this long and have this many kids come through our camp, establish so many relationships like we’ve been able to with players, coaches and kids,” Webb said. “It’s just been so much fun.”

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