Providence Steamrollers

First Game Played November 2, 1946 Final Game Played March 17, 1949

1946/47: Owned by Louis Pieri a former basketball coach and hockey coach, the Providence Steamrollers were one of 11 charter franchises in the Basketball Association of America. Playing at the Rhode Island Auditorium, the Steamrollers were coached by Robert Morris. In their first game on November 2nd, the Steamrollers defeated the Boston Celtics 59-53. The first week was good to Providence, as they won their first three games and four of their first five games. However, a four game losing streak would begin a tradition of losing for the Steamrollers. The Steamrollers would hover near .500 most of the season, but never again held a winning record, as the season wore on the Steamrollers would slip out of the playoff race and ultimately finished in fourth place with a record of 28-32, which was better than the nearby Celtics who posted a 22-38 record in their first year. Ernie Calverley was the top player for the Steamrollers, making the second team All-BAA team, with a team high 14.3 points per game, while leading the BAA in assists.

1947/48: In their second season the Steamrollers got a new coach as Albert Soar replaced Robert Morris who left to become the head coach at Brown University. The Steamrollers were laid flat and run over by their opponents early in the season, losing their first six games and 13 of 14. Soar would eventually be fired after a 2-17 start. The Steamrollers would fare no better under replacement Nat Hickey, a star with the Original Celtics who actually activated himself on January 28th, two days shy of 46th birthday, becoming the oldest player in the history of the league that would become the NBA. The Steamrollers would finish the season with a dreadful record of 6-42, which is still ranked as one of the worst seasons in the history of professional basketball.

1948/49: Under new Coach Ken Loeffler, the Providence Steamrollers continued to struggle, losing 13 of their first 14 games. Once again the Steamrollers would get run over as they were clearly the worst team in the BAA. While they did manage to double their previous season’s win total, posting a record of 12-48 it was clear the team was never really going to compete, especially with the BAA merging with the NBL and becoming the National Basketball Association. The lone bright spot for Providence in their third season was the play of rookie Howie Shannon who was the league top rookie with 13.4 points per game. Following the season the Providence Steamrollers would cease operations posting a record of 46-122 in their three seasons of existence.

©MMXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Providence Steamrollers or the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on June 15, 2015. Last updated on June 15, 2015 at 11:40 pm ET.

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