A three-time All-American and five-time NBA champion, Bill Cartwright’s roots can be traced back to a farming community outside of Sacramento, where he and his six sisters spent summer days chopping sugar beets and hoeing weeds under the sweltering sun. A native of Lodi, Ca. Cartwright was a two-time state player of the year at Elk Grove High and was tabbed as a first round NBA pick before he arrived at USF in the fall of 1975. During his four-year career on the Hilltop from 1975-79, USF posted a 93-22 (.808) record, including a 45-7 (.865) mark in WCC play, captured three conference titles, made three trips to the NCAA Tournament and one NIT appearance. During his sophomore season, the Dons won their first 29 games of the year and were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the majority of the season WITH Cartwright earning his first of three WCC Player of the Year honors and a second team All-American by AP and UPI. He earned first team All-America honors as a junior and senior. He graduated as USF’s all-time leading scorer and third all-time leading rebounder. The third overall selection in the 1979 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, Cartwright played 16 seasons in the NBA with the Knicks, THE Bulls and THE Sonics. As a player, he won three NBA titles with legendary Bulls’ teams In the early 90’s and added two more as an Assistant Coach under Phil Jackson in 1997 and ’98. He also served as head coach of the Bulls FOR the 2001-02 season and later served as an Assistant Coach with the New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns. In January of 2013, Cartwright was named the head coach of Osaka Evessa of the Japanese League and in 2014, was hired as the head coach of Mexico’s National Team. A cerebral player with sharp elbows and eclectic interests, Cartwright earned two degrees from USF and returned to his alma mater in March of 2016 as Director of University Initiatives. He met his wife, Sheri, while in high school. They have four children and five grandchildren.
Narrative by Jim Young