Stanley “Red” Nantais was an Olympic silver medalist basketball player who coached for 13 years at Assumption College. His teams won several provincial and regional titles and twice defeated the Harlem Globetrotters.
Nantais was born in Windsor on July 25, 1913.
Nantais was a fine athlete in his youth. While attending Assumption High School, he was selected to the first All-City Basketball Team ever picked by the Windsor Star. Later, he played on some excellent teams at Assumption College for Father Willie McGee. In the 1933-34 season, his team advanced to the Eastern Canadian semifinals. The following year, the squad won the Ontario and Eastern Canadian Titles before losing to the Victoria Blue Ribbons in the Canadian Finals.
In 1936, Nantais joined the fabled Windsor Ford V-8s Basketball Team that won the Canadian Championship. The team represented Canada at the Berlin Olympics, winning a silver medal. The following year, Nantais’ V-8s lost in the Canadian Finals to the University of British Columbia.
Away from the V-8s, Nantais played for the Windsor Moose Lodge Senior Men’s team in 1937-38. The team was crowned Ontario Champion and advanced to the Eastern Canadian semifinals. He also played for the Windsor Alumni in the 1938-39 season. With Nantais, the Alumni won the Ontario Championship for the 12th time in 13 years before falling in the Canadian Finals to the Victoria Dominoes. Nantais’ final season as an active player came in 1939-40. His Windsor Alumni again won the Ontario Championship but lost in the semifinals of the Eastern Canadian playoffs.
In 1942, Nantais began a successful 13-year coaching spell at Assumption College. Over the course of his career, his teams won 201 and lost 146 games for a .726 winning percentage. Nantais’ 1945-46 and ’46-47 Assumption College teams won the Ontario and Eastern Canadian titles but lost in the Canadian Finals. Assumption fell to the dominant Victoria Blue Ribbons and the Vancouver Meralomas consecutively. Assumption won another provincial title and reached the Eastern Canadian semifinals in ’47-48. The following season, the team was Ontario and Eastern Canadian Champion. Regrettably, there were no Canadian Finals that year.
Nantais’ Assumption College teams famously defeated the Harlem Globetrotters twice: 55-51 in 1944 and 49-45 in ’45.
During his time at Assumption, Nantais coached many great players, including Fred Thomas, Hank Biasatti, Gino Sovran, and the Canadian Olympians Bill Coulthard and Bob Simpson.
Nantais is a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame and the University of Windsor Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.
Stanley Nantais passed away on January 26, 2004.