‘Father of the Final Four’ Tom Jernestedt dies at 75

Sports

Tom Jernstedt graduated from the University of Oregon in 1967

NCAA adminstrator Tom Jernstedt speaks during his enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tom Jernstedt, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame for his contributions to college basketball and the NCAA Tournament, has died. He was 75.

The NCAA said Jernstedt died this weekend.

Nicknamed “Father of the Final Four,” Jernstedt has widely been credited with transforming the NCAA Tournament into the billion-dollar March Madness it has become today.

A former back-up quarterback, Jernstedt worked his first Final Four in 1973 and helped push the growth of the NCAA Tournament from 25 teams to the 68, anything-can-happen bonanza held every spring.

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