Rice Institute basketball player Bill Tom Closs
Black and white photograph of Rice Owls basketball player Bill Tom Closs, accompanied by text headlining his achievement of the Distinguished "R" Award. Caption reads: Bill Tom Closs attended Rice at the age of 16, playing basketball all four years. In his senior year, he led the conference in scoring and earned all-America honors. He graduated in 1943 with a B.S. in physical education and a minor in business administration. In 1971, Closs was elected in to the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame and in 2003 had his basketball jersey retired along with five other Rice all-Americas. Closs joined the Marine Reserve while still at Rice in 1942, and upon graduation went to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. He then was sent to Marine Officer Training in Quantico, Va., where he attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. He was shipped to Marine Transient Center on the island of Oahu where he was assigned to Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMF Pac) Headquarters, to work in the communications code room. Closs met his wife, Gini, on Oahu at the end of the war and they were married there in March 1946. After the war he spent another six months in the service playing with the FMF Pac basketball team before being honorably discharged at a s 1st Lieutenant. After the war, Cloos played pro basketball for six years, starting in 1946 in Indianapolis as part of the National Basketball League. After the formation of the National Basketball Association, Closs went to the Philadelphia Warriors. His last season (1951-52) was with the Pistons, at that time in Fort Wayne, Ind.. Closs’ business career spanned 35-plus years in the sporting goods industry. From 1952 to 1961, he worked for Converse as a sales and promotional agent. He started his own sales agency in 1962 representing various sporting goods manufacturers, until 1967 when he became importer and distributor for adidas athletic products and active wear. He founded Clossco/adidas and led the company through a period of tremendous growth over an 18-year span. During that time, he was an active member and president of the National Organization for Sporting Goods Agents Association and was voted into that organization’s hall of fame. In 1986, Clossco/adidas was sold back to the parent company, adidas AG of West Germany. Closs was also chairman of the board and substantial owner of U.S. sports, a company he started in 1967 which operates tennis and other sports camps. Bill and Gini are proud to have contributed a full permanent athletic scholarship for a student in either men’s tennis or basketball to their respective alma maters, Rice and Stanford.
Rice University Distinguished "R" Award (poor quality image)
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/64580
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