Thomas J. Gola ’51
A legend in his time at La Salle High, Tom continued his basketball feats at La Salle College where he was a three-time collegiate All-American while leading the Explorers to the 1952 NIT title and 1954 NCAA national title. To these laurels might be added: Collegiate Player of the Year in 1954; member of the new Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame; the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame; the Helms College Basketball Hall of Fame; Sport Magazine All-Time All-America Quintet.
Tom’s ten-year association with the NBA while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks was interrupted for two years while he served in the United States Signal Corps.
In 1966 Tom was elected State Representative of the 170th Legislative District and was re-elected in 1968.
Tom returned to La Salle College in 1968, this time as head coach to lead La Salle to its greatest record (23-1) and a No. 2 Ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
He was elected City Controller of Philadelphia in November of 1969. As the City’s financial watchdog, Tom repeatedly investigated and disclosed corruption and graft in government, fiscal irregularities in the City’s business dealings, and abuses in the usage of state and federal funds. He also served as Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A native Philadelphian, Tom attended Incarnation Grammar School and graduated from La Salle High School in 1951. He and his wife, Caroline, reside in the Northeast section of the city. Their son, Tom, is a member of the Class of 1977 from La Salle College High School.