Temple basketball legend Hal Lear dies at 81

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Temple University and Philadelphia basketball legend Hal Lear died on Saturday at the age of 81.

"The entire Temple University community mourns the loss of Hal Lear," Patrick Kraft, Temple's athletic director, said in a statement.

"Hal was an All-American on the court, and, with Guy Rodgers, part of the greatest backcourt in Philadelphia basketball history. More importantly, though, he was truly a great man, and beloved by all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maggie and the entire Lear family at this time.”

Lear is one of four players to have his number retired by the university, as Temple retired his No. 6 in a ceremony on Jan. 30, 2013, at the Liacouras Center. He still holds the school's single-season record for most points scored — 745 set in 1955-56, his senior season, when he helped the Owls reach the Final Four for the first time in program history, and he's just one of three players in school history to average 20 or more points in two different seasons, with Mark Macon and Guy Rodgers being the others.

On May 7, 2013, Lear was elected into the Middle Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame.

He finished his Temple career scoring 1,472 points and averaging 19.0 points in 79 games, and is widely considered one of the best players to ever put on an Owls uniform.

The Philadelphia Warriors drafted Lear, a left-handed guard who starred at Overbrook High School, in the 1956 NBA draft. He played just three games in the NBA.

Lear is survived by wife, Maggie O’Keefe Lear, nine children, 21 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

“Hal Lear was not only one of the greatest players, but one of the greatest people in Temple basketball history,” Owls head coach Fran Dunphy said. “He personified class in every way, was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He is someone that will be remembered for his great feats on the court and how he handled himself with grace off it. A great man has left us."

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