Peter Lind

Year: 1948 - 1950
Position: Center
Hometown: Greenport, NY

Peter Lind was a Center for the UConn Huskies from 1948 – 1950. He’s a member of the UConn Basketball All Century Ballot, was an All-Yankee Conference First Team selection in 1949 – 1950, and was the top rebounder that year. Pete was also top scorer in his junior year, and co-captain of the team his senior year. I met with Pete in August 2005, as he reflected on his collegiate, and post-collegiate days, his career, and his outside interests.

Pete grew up in Long Island, New York, and started playing basketball around the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, in the backyard. During high school, sports were curtailed because it was during World War II. There were cutbacks, and gas rationing, so the teams weren’t able to travel much. The focus was more on the world than on high school sports. When Pete was a senior in high school, and could touch the ceiling when no one else could, is when he knew basketball was going to be in his future. Upon graduation form Greenport High School in 1945, he had some inquiries from several professional teams but Pete didn’t think he was that great of a basketball player, and never followed up on the inquiries. Instead, went to college at Columbia University for two semesters, and then left school to fight in World War II, as a Merchant Marine, for the next three years. “When the war was over there were so many veterans coming back, I couldn’t get back into Columbia right away.” The state of New York established two or three junior colleges, so I went to one up in Plattsburgh, New York, and played basketball there for two years.” The junior college team played the University of CT. UConn’s Head Coach, Hugh Greer, must have liked what he saw in Pete because soon he offered Pete a two-year scholarship to transfer to UConn.

Reflecting on his basketball experiences at UConn Pete said, “We were among the top teams in New England but certainly not nationally.” UConn was a member of the Yankee Conference, which is made up of the state universities in New England, and UConn won the Conference while Pete was a part of the team. UConn’s main rival at the time was the University of Rhode Island. “Every year we’d play at Madison Square Garden, it was fun to play in the garden for me because I grew up in NY.” Pete said that UConn was emerging on a national level, and the year after graduating, UConn qualified for the National Invitational Tournament. In those days, the NIT was a higher level than the National Collegiate Athletic Association. “A lot of the credit goes to Head Coach Hugh Greer. He really took the school, moved it up to a level in a way like Jim Calhoun has done on a much higher level.”

Pete graduated from UConn in 1950 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Industrial Management. He continued to play recreational basketball back in New York. In 1953 Pete began his professional career at Aetna Insurance Company in Hartford, CT. He worked in different areas of the company in the Casualty and Surety Division. He started out completing yacht surveys (he had an interest in boats, his fathers business was a shipyard in Brooklyn, New York). Throughout his career at Aetna, Pete worked in Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island and New York, as he became a General Manager of Aetna’s Syracuse Branch Office, and then he became an Assistant Vice President in CT, and ultimately Vice President. After 35 years of service, Peter retired early from Aetna in 1987 to enjoy his outside interest, sailing.

Pete and his wife, Carolyn, had a sailboat built, and set sail living on the boat for the next six years as they sailed around the world sightseeing. They went from Bermuda to the Azores, to Portugal into the Mediterranean, on to Turkey, down the Red Sea to Kenya, across the Indian Ocean to Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, Borneo, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan to Vancouver, up to Alaska, down the West coast of the U.S., and up the East coast, back to Stonington, CT.

Pete has continued to be very active at UConn, serving as President of the Alumni Association, President of the UConn Club, and a member of the UConn Foundation. He is currently the chairman of a volunteer committee for a civic organization in West Hartford, CT where he manages 30 volunteers at the UConn Health Center reception desk. Pete is also active in his church, and finds time to play tennis three days a week. Pete also enjoys hiking. He and his wife belong to a hiking club in the United Kingdom, and go there annually for a two- to three-week hiking trip. “It’s quite different than hiking in the United States. England, Wales, and Scotland criss cross with trails that go back to medieval times. It’s a very interesting way to see historic places. This year we’re going to hike in Tuscany, Italy.”

Pete’s thoughts on how basketball has changed over the years, “It’s completely different. There is no relationship to what the skills are now, but I still had fun. It was an important part of my life.” Pete has been to see both the UConn men and women each win a National Championship. “I’d like to see the graduation rates go up. I think that’s important for the school. As much as UConn basketball has exploded, the university has exploded to a greater extent.”

Pete thinks this year’s men’s team has a lot of potential. “I’m sure they will be ranked high, they’ll make the NCAA Tournament, and after that hopefully they’ll get on a roll.”
Pete has met Coach Calhoun a few times. “I think the main thing is, he’s done a remarkable job. I have tremendous respect for him, and also respect for the contributions he’s made at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, CT.”

Peter met Carolyn, his wife of 55 years, while at UConn. Carolyn knew UConn Head Coach Hugh Greer from his previous coaching job at South Windsor High School in CT where she went to school. She told Coach Greer she was going to college at UConn to meet Pete Lind, and she did. After Pete graduated from UConn, he and Carolyn got married. Pete started his professional career in Rhode Island so they relocated. Not having graduated yet, Carolyn transferred her credits to Barrington College in Rhode Island where she received a Bachelors Degree in teaching, and spent most of her teaching career at Renbrook School in West Hartford, CT.

Peter and Carolyn have four children- Claire, Joanne, Susan, and Bill. All are college graduates, but not from UConn. Two daughters work at ING Financial Services in Hartford, CT, and one daughter works for the CT Judicial System, and is a victim’s advocate. Bill, who shares the sailing interest with his father, is a Vice President of The American Bureau of Shipping in Houston, Texas. Bill is a boat designer who designed the sailboat Pete and Carolyn had built for their trip around the world.

Pete and Carolyn also have four grandchildren, two in Texas, and two in CT. One of them graduated from UConn, and is currently in a Ph.D program at UConn.

Pete had some very positive things to say about UConn, and how it became a part of his life. “First, and most importantly I met my wife while at UConn, and second I really love and respect the school. I think it’s a wonderful institution, and I’m really proud of all that they’ve done.”