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Abernathy, Ronald L.
Birth Year : 1950
Abernathy was born in Louisville, KY, to Ben W. and Juanita Abernathy. He is a graduate of Morehead State University (BA) and Louisiana State University (MA). Abernathy was a teacher at Shawnee High School in Louisville when he received the Teacher of the Year Award and was second in the state for Kentucky High School Coach of the Year, both in 1976. From 1972-1976, he was head basketball coach at the school. He left Kentucky to become an assistant basketball coach at LSU, 1976-1989, the first African American basketball coach hired full-time at the school. For more see Dale Brown's Memoirs from LSU Basketball, by D. Brown; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1980-2006.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Anderson, Derek
Birth Year : 1974
Born in Louisville, KY, Anderson, a 6'6" guard who played high school ball at Doss High School in that city, averaging 24.7 points his senior year. He played college ball first at Ohio State, from 1992 to 1994, scoring 15.5 points per game. He then transferred to the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1994, sitting out one year before seeing playing time during the 1995-1996 season with the team that won the 1996 NCAA Championship. He was drafted in 1997 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, chosen as the 13th pick in the first round. Over the years he played for a number of NBA teams and retired at the end of the 2007-08 season. Derek Anderson played in more than 500 games; he had a career high 35 points in a 2000 game and scored 1,269 points in the 2000-01 season. For more see Derek Anderson at basketball-reference.com and articles in local newspapers and sports publications such as Sports Illustrated.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Averitt, William Rodney "Bird"
Birth Year : 1952
William R. Averitt, known as "Bird," was the nation's leading college basketball scorer during the 1972-73 season; he averaged 33.9 points per game as a player at Pepperdine University. In 1971, he had broken the freshman scoring record three times, and his highest one game score was 59 points when Pepperdine beat Chapman College [source: "Former Hoptown All-Stater: 'Bird' Averitt scores 59 breaking his own record at Pepperdine." Kentucky New Era, 01/16/1973, p.13 (online at Google News)]. Other Kentuckians on the Pepperdine freshman team were Tom Johnson and George Wilson from Union County High School. Averitt, a 6' 1", left-handed shooting guard from Hopkinsville, KY, had been an All-State player at Hopkinsville High School. He was a star basketball player at both the high school and college level.  After his junior year at Pepperdine, Averitt was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs, then an ABA team. He played three years in the ABA and was a member of the 1975 championship team the Kentucky Colonels. When the ABA and the NBA merged, Averitt was drafted by the Buffalo Braves and played for a little over a year before joining the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of the 1977-78 season. In total, William R. Averitt played 5 years of professional basketball.  For more see J. Crowe, "For Ex-Pepperdine basketball star William "Bird" Averitt sky was the limit," Los Angeles Times, 01/25/2010; Bird Averitt at Basketball-Reference.com; and William "Bird" Averitt at the American Basketball Association Players website.

 

  See photo image of William "Bird" Averitt at the American Basketball Association Players website.

 
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Banks, Charles Anthony, Sr. [Kentucky Trojans Basketball Team]
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2004
The Kentucky Trojans were a semi-pro basketball team in Lynch, KY, coached by Charles A. Banks, Sr. in the mid to late 1940s. The trainer was George "Piggy" Smith. Little is known about African American semi-pro basketball teams in Kentucky prior to the 1960s. Charles A. Banks, Sr. was born in Greenville, GA, the son of Flora Martin and Frank Banks. By 1930, the family had moved to Lynch, KY, they lived on Fifth Street, and Frank Banks was a coal loader in the coal mines, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Charles Banks attended school in Lynch and was the valedictorian of his 1937 high school graduating class. He would become a coal miner with U.S. Steel. Charles A. Banks moved to Youngstown, OH, in 1951. He was a foreman with U.S. Steel for 32 years. For more see "Charles Anthony Banks, Sr., 84," The Vindicator, 10/23/2004, p.9; and see the photo image of the Kentucky Trojans basketball team at the Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections.

Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills
Geographic Region: Greenville, Georgia / Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky / Youngstown, Ohio

Bardo, Stephen "Steve"
Birth Year : 1968
Stephen Bardo, born in Henderson, KY, was a noted shooting guard at Carbondale High School (IL) and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Bardo, at 6'5", scored just over 900 points and had 495 assists during his college career, 1986-1990. His team went to the final four in 1989. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 1989. He was the 14th pick by the Atlanta Hawks during the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft. Bardo played for the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks, for the Continental Basketball Association, and the Detroit Pistons. He retired from the NBA in 2000, and is a motivational speaker, a sports broadcaster, and also was a sports analyst with CBS Sports and ESPN. For more see Steve Bardo in Basketball-Reference.com; the podcast with Stephen Bardo on The Will Leitch Experience, Episode 2.64, 11/07/2013, at Sports on Earth (SoE); and The Flyin' Illini by Stephen Bardo and Dick Vitale.

 

  See photo image of Steve Bardo and former team members in L. H. Bardo, "Taking Flight," in the Illinois Alumni Magazine, September-October 2004.
Subjects: Authors, Basketball
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Carbondale, Illinois

Beard, Alfred, Jr. "Butch"
Birth Year : 1947
Born in Hardinsburg, KY, Alfred "Butch" Beard, Jr. played basketball at Breckinridge County High School and the University of Louisville, where he roomed with Wes Unseld. He was drafted in 1969 by the Atlanta Hawks, then drafted by the U.S. Army. After his military service, Beard returned to the NBA and played for several different teams. While with the San Francisco Golden State Warriors he scored the last seven points of the team's 1975 NBA Championship win. Beard retired as a NBA player in 1979, last playing for the New York Knicks. Since retiring, Beard has been an assistant coach in the NBA and a head coach of college basketball teams. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and Butch Beard at Basketball-Reference.com.

See Al "Butch" Beard at cavhistory.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bellarmine College Basketball Team (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1950
Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University] had the first African American basketball players at a predominately white school in Kentucky. The players were 5'7" guard Theodore R. Wade, Jr. (1950-1951) and Franklin Freeman (1952-1953). Wade may have been mistaken for white: his mother was Irish and his father was African American and Native American. He left school before graduating and joined the Air Force. He later became a computer programmer in New York. For more see M. Story, "A barrier falls without a sound," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/11/2004, Sports section, p. C2.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bennett, Winston G., III
Birth Year : 1965
Winston Bennett, born in Louisville,KY, is a former NBA player and a college basketball coach. His played high school basketball at Male High School in Louisville. Bennett was a 6' 7" forward and was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 1983. He was also named All-American by Parade Magazine and McDonalds. He played college basketball at the University of Kentucky 1983-1988 [he was red shirted one year due to a knee injury]. During his first season, the team went to the final four and lost to the Georgetown Hoyas 53-40 in the championship game. In the following years, Bennett was named to the All-NCAA Regional Team and was twice named to the SEC All-Conference Team. In his senior year, the team had a record of 32-4, and Winston Bennett was team captain. He was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 3rd round of the 1988 NBA Draft. He played 3 seasons with the Cavaliers and one season with the Miami Heat. He has served as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, the head coach at Kentucky State University, and head coach at Mid-Continent University.

 

  See photo image and stats at the Winston Bennett page of the bigbluehistory.net site.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Berry, Julius
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2001
Julius Berry was born in Lexington, KY. In 1994, Mayor Scotty Baesler appointed Berry to the post of Affirmative Action Officer of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Berry, 41 years old at the time, was responsible for managing the government's affirmative action plan and investigating discrimination complaints. He held the post under various mayors up to the time of his death in 2001. Berry was a man of many talents. In 1974, he worked with the city government's A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund, which helped minorities get apprenticeships in the building and construction trades. He was also involved with horses as a breeder, racer, seller, and thoroughbred bloodstock agent. He had been a public advocate in Lexington, working on school integration issues as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He is also remembered as a former (old) Dunbar High School basketball star; standing at 6'5", Berry scored more than 3,000 points during his high school days in the 1950s. He played college ball at University of Dayton and at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he earned a bachelor's degree, then went on to get his master's degree at Rutgers University. Julius Berry was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He was Ulysses Berry's brother. For more see the following articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader: J. Duke, "Julius Berry Returns to Government," 06/01/1984, City/State section, p. B1; M. Fields, "Inductee Sees Athletics as Societal Salve," 03/12/1996, Sports section, p. C1; and S. Lannen, "Aide to Lexington Mayor Dies - Dunbar Basketball Star During 1950s," 12/03/2001, City & Region section, p. B1. See also the sound recording interview of Julius Berry in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Access Interview Read about the Julius Berry oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bickerstaff, Bernard T., Sr. "Bernie"
Birth Year : 1944
Bernie Bickerstaff was born in Benham, KY. At the age of 25, he was head coach at the University of San Diego, the youngest college coach in the U.S. at that time. He went on to become the youngest assistant coach in NBA history when he joined the Washington Bullets [now the Washington Wizards] at the age of 29. From 1985-1990, Bickerstaff was head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics [in 2008 became the Oklahoma City Thunder]; he was the first African American from Kentucky to be named a head coach in the NBA [the second was Wes Unseld and the third was Dwane Casey]. Bickerstaff was president and general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 1990-1997. In 2004, he was named general manager of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, becoming the team's first coach; he returned as the head coach for the 2006-2007 season. Bickerstaff ranks 33rd on the NBA's winningest coaches list. Bernie Bickerstaff Boulevard in Benham is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in America, 45th-48th ed.; Who's Who in the West, 22nd -24th ed.; and Bernie Bickerstaff, an NBA Coaches website.

See photo image and coaching stats for Bernie Bickerstaff at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Benham, Harlan County, Kentucky / Charlotte, North Carolina

Bishop, Darryl R.
Birth Year : 1950
Darryl R. Bishop was born in Louisville, KY. In 1969, he was the first African American to play basketball for the University of Kentucky (UK), playing a few games as a walk-on, then withdrawing from the team. He had a more successful career as a defensive back on the football team. At that time at UK, football players could not play until their sophomore year. In spite of only playing three years, Bishop's career at UK was phenomenal. He holds the UK career record for most pass interceptions (14) and return yardage (376). He made more tackles (348) than any defensive back in UK history. He is also remembered for the 43-yard interception return touchdown in the 1971 win over Vanderbilt and the 97-yard touchdown return against Mississippi State. Darryl Bishop was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in January of 1974. Information provided by the University of Kentucky Athletics Media Relations Office. See also Fifty Years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999. In March of 1974, Darryl R. Bishop signed to play with the newly formed World Football League [source: "Sports in brief," Lakeland Ledger, 03/05/1974, p.3B]. Bishop played with the New York Stars until he was cut from the team in July of 1974 [source: "Sports in brief," Spartanburg Herald-Journal, 07/06/1974, p.B3].

 

  See photo image of Darryl R. Bishop at bigbluehistory.net.
Subjects: Basketball, Football
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bond, Phillip Damone "Phil"
Birth Year : 1954
Phil Bond, born in Paducah, KY, was a 6'2", left handed, point guard and a very good student. He graduated third in the 1972 Class at Manual High School in Louisville, KY; his family had moved to Louisville when Bond was 6 years old. From 1972-1977, he was a point guard on the University of Louisville (U of L) basketball team [Bond was out the 1973-74 season with mononucleosis]. He was the first freshman to play at U of L after the NCAA gave the go-ahead to freshmen; previously, freshmen ball players were regulated to the freshmen team their first year. In 1975, the U of L team was in the NCAA Final Four. Bond, the team's starting guard, was voted Most Valuable Player in the 1975 Midwest Regional. He is credited with naming his team the "Doctors of Dunk." In 1975, Bond also played for the U.S. Pan American team that won a gold medal in Mexico City, Mexico. The following year, he was selected an All-American, Academic All-American, and he held the U of L record of 14 assists in one game. Bond is second in the school history of career assists with 528. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 3rd round of the 1977 NBA Draft. After playing in seven NBA games, Phil Bond was released due to the NBA's labor dispute during the 1977-78 season. Bond left professional basketball, returned to U of L and finished his accounting degree, and in 1983, became the chief financial officer with the Metro United Way in Louisville, KY. In 2007, Manual High School retired Phil Bond's high school jersey. For more see H. C. Ray, "What's up with...? Phil Bond," Louisville Courier-Journal, 03/01/2001, p.E.1; and Phil Bond in Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bridgeman, Ulysses "Junior"
Birth Year : 1953
Ulysses Bridgeman was born in East Chicago, Indiana. Bridgeman was a 1975 graduate of the University of Louisville, where the 6' 5" forward played for Coach Denny Crum's Cardinals; in 1972 the Cardinals were ranked 4th in the country and played in the Final Four. In 1975 Bridgeman was drafted 8th in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers and then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Bridgeman finished his career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988 and his jersey was retired. He holds the team record for most games played. Today, Bridgeman is owner of more than 150 Wendy's Restaurants, including several in Louisville, KY; it is one of the largest Wendy's franchises in the U.S. In 2003 Bridgeman was named chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Basketball biographies: 434 U.S. players, coaches and contributors to the game, 1891-1990, by M. Taragano and M. Pitsch; "Bridgeman likely to lead trustees," Courier Journal, 08/29/03; and P. King, "Former NBA star scores on Wendy's team," Nation's Restaurant News, vol. 38, issue 34, p. 70.

See photo image and additional information about Ulysses Bridgeman at Forbes.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / East Chicago, Indiana

Brock, James "Jim"
James Brock was the second head basketball coach at William Grant High School (WGHS) in Covington, KY, coaching there from 1955 to 1965. Like other African American school teams in Kentucky, WGHS was a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL). The counter league, Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), was for whites only until school integration began in the mid-1950s. The 1956-1957 WGHS team was the first African American basketball team to win a district tournament in the KHSAA tournament. As more African American students were allowed to attend the formerly all white schools, there was an impact on the pool of high school athletes that had been restricted to the all black schools. In 1965, the year that William Grant High School closed, the basketball team won only five games. The season was a far cry from the winning seasons that had garnered the school a win-loss record of 185-69 during Brock's years as head coach. With the closing of William Grant, Brock moved on to Cincinnati, where he continued to successfully coach high school sports. James Brock was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Black Hall of Fame and the KHSAA Hall of Fame in 2000. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; J. Reis, "Many tried, few defeated William Grant in '50s, '60s," The Cincinnati Post, 02/23/1998, Editorial section, p. 4K; and Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame class of 2000 inductees announced, 06/21/1999, at the KHSAA website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Brown, J. B., Jr.
Brown is from Fort Knox, KY, but considers Owensboro, KY, his home. While attending high school in Fort Knox, Brown set a record as state high jump champion. The 6'8" center was an All-America basketball player at Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) and a member of the team that won the 1987 NCAA Division II Championship. Brown, starting all but one game, was the second leading rebounder that season with 225 rebounds. Brown went on to play ball with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1988-1995. He underwent a kidney transplant in 1996 and taught elementary school geography in Daviess County, Kentucky in 1997. For more see M. Graf, "J B Brown becomes a Harlem Globetrotter," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 09/28/1988, p. 1B; and N. Phillips, "Brother's kidney gives KWC star hope," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 07/13/1996, p. A1.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, & Meade Counties, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Buckner, Gregory Derayle "Greg"
Birth Year : 1976
Greg Buckner, born in Hopkinsville, KY, is an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets. He was formerly a star basketball player in high school and college. Buckner is a graduate of North University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, KY. Buckner, a 6'4" shooting guard and small forward, was a member of the 1992 state basketball championship team; it was the school's first, and to date, only state championship. His final year of high school in 1994, Buckner was selected First Team All-State, and averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game [source: J. Pickens, "North University Heights set for compelling game," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 03/23/1994, p.1B]. Buckner went on to play basketball at Clemson University where he did not miss a single game during his basketball career. "Buckner was the first player in Clemson history to start on four postseason tournament teams...he started 122 consecutive games between 1994 and 1998," according to the online Clemson Orange and White article titled "Former Tiger, NBA star Greg Buckner earns Clemson degree." All four years, Buckner also led the team in scoring and is ranked as the fourth all time leading scorer at Clemson with 1,754 points. He was ACC Rookie of the Year 1994-95, two times an All-ACC player, and helped take his team to the Sweet 16 during the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Greg Buckner was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He was a second round pick by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1998 NBA Draft. Buckner played one year of Continental Basketball before joining the Mavericks for three seasons. He would play for several other teams before ending his professional basketball playing career with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009. As of August of 2012, Greg Buckner is a graduate of Clemson University. For more see Greg Buckner at Basketball-Reference.com; and Greg Buckner at NBA.com. 
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Casey, Dwane
Birth Year : 1957
Dwane Casey was born in Morganfield, KY. Casey, a 6' 2" guard, was on the University of Kentucky (UK) basketball team from 1976-1979; the 1977-1978 team won the NCAA Championship. Casey played in 95 games, scoring 125 total points. He served as an assistant coach under Clem Haskins for five years at Western Kentucky University until 1986, when he became an assistant coach at UK. Casey was the third former player to become an assistant coach at UK and the first African American to do so. In 1988 he filed a $6.9 million suit against the Emery Air Freight Corp. and the employees who claimed to have discovered $1,000 cash in a package Casey sent to the father of California basketball player Chris Mills. [The suit was eventually settled out of court.] Casey resigned from UK in 1989. He later served as an assistant coach overseas and in the NBA. From June 2005 - January 2007, Casey was head coach of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. He was the third African American from Kentucky to be named a head coach in the NBA [the first was Bernie Bickerstaff, the second, Wes Unseld]. In 2011, Casey was named the head coach of the Toronto Raptors. For more see Dwane Casey at the Big Blue History website; J. Tipton, "UK names Casey coaching assistant," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/19/1986, Sports section, p. C1; M. Barnhill, "Kentucky basketball coach sues freight firm in Mills case," 07/09/1988, News section, p. N8, and "Kentucky charged by NCAA - investigators say L.A. basketball star's father was paid $1000," 07/26/1988, News section, p. N1, both in the Daily News of Los Angeles (California); and "Timberwolves hire Sonics' assistant," The Grand Rapids Press, 06/18/2006, Sports section, p. C1.

See photo image and additional information about Dwane Casey at "Mavs assistant Dwane Casey in line for Toronto head job," by T. Griffin et. al. at Spurs Nation website.
 
Subjects: Basketball, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Minnesota

Clark, Elmer S., Jr.
Birth Year : 1929
Elmer S. Clark, Jr. is a noted horseman, and a former athlete, educator, and coach. He was the first African American to become a peri-mutual judge of harness racing in the United States. Clark was sponsored by the Sportsman's Park when he attended the Harness Horse School in Columbus, Ohio, which prepared him to become a peri-mutual judge. He was also a paddock, placing, and senior Judge over the Chicago Trotting Horse Circuit. In addition, Clark was owner and trainer of his own racehorses beginning in 1962, he received his trainer's license in Chicago and raced his thoroughbred horses in locations such as Chicago, Detroit, and Atlantic City, and he raced his horses in Canada. He bought yearlings and trained them himself. His first horse was named Calico, and a few of the other horses were named Super Chief, Road Man, and the last horse he owned was Mr. Bo Jo. Clark was fairly successful with his racehorses, and had 30-40 winners including the horse Tide Me Over, and in 1990, he retired from the horse industry. Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Elmer S. (d.1984) and Mary F. Ross Clark. He was raised in Lexington, KY. His father, Elmer S. Clark, Sr., was a jockey and trainer who won the first race at North Aurora Exhibition Park [later Aurora Downs] near Chicago. In the 1930s, Clark Sr. was issued a jockey's license in Florida and may have been the first African American to receive such a license in that state, but it was revoked when it was learned that Elmer S. Clark, Sr. was an African American. His racing career ended and Elmer S. Clark, Sr. moved to New York where he had a limousine service. His son, Elmer Jr., was around horses most of his life, and uncles on both sides of the family were grooms. When he was a teenager, Clark Jr. was an exercise rider at Keeneland, and he also worked on Calumet Farm. He was mentored by Ben Jones, and worked with the horses Citation, Coaltown, Ponder, and many others. He worked with African American trainers and grooms such as Henry and Ernest Louden, Theopilus Irivn, and William Perry Smith who was the trainer for Burnt Cork, a horse that ran in the 1943 Kentucky Derby. Clark left the racetrack to go to college, he was the first member of his family to attend college. He enrolled at Kentucky State [now Kentucky State University] in 1948 on a football scholarship; he had graduated from old Dunbar High School in Lexington, where he was coached in football by Norman Passmore and in basketball by S. T. Roach. In college, Clark was the quarterback of the football team that won the 1948 post-season tournament known as Little Brown Jug, the opponent was Tennessee State A & I [now Tennessee State University]. His team also won the Vulcan Bowl in January of 1949, playing against North Carolina A & T. After one year at Kentucky State College, Clark went back to working with horses for a year, and in 1951, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served until 1953. Clark boxed some while he was in the Army. He fought in three battles during the Korean War and received an Honorable Discharge. Clark then returned to Kentucky State College where he was on the boxing team, the track team, the football team, and he was an assistant for the basketball team. He lettered in basketball, football, and boxing. After graduating from Kentucky State College in 1956, S. T. Roach informed Clark about three job openings. Clark took the teaching job in Franklin, KY, where he was also the school's football and basketball coach. While in Franklin, he met and married Catherine Sloss, and in 2012, the couple had been married for 54 years. Catherine Sloss was also a school teacher in her home town of Franklin. After one year of teaching in Franklin, Elmer and Catherine Clark moved to Chicago where Catherine was hired as a teacher in the Chicago Public School System, and Elmer was employed at Schlitz Brewing Company. He was the first African American to work for the advertising and marketing department at Schlitz. His territory was from 120th Street to the Loop and Clark promoted the beer from the brewery to the wholesalers. After four years with Schlitz, Elmer S. Clark, Jr. also became a school teacher, he taught at Dunbar High School in Chicago and he coached football and basketball. He was teaching school during the same period that he was buying and racing his racehorses. Elmer S. Clark, Jr. was recognized by the Bluegrass Black Business Association in 1993 as an outstanding African American owner and trainer of thoroughbred horses. In 1996, Clark was recognized at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, MD as an outstanding racehorse owner and trainer. This entry was suggested by Gregory Clark, the son of Catherine and Elmer S. Clark, Jr. Gregory Clark provided background information and copies of literature, letters, and an article citation. Additional information was acquired via a telephone interview with Elmer S. Clark, Jr. on 01/24/2012. See also Elmer S. Clark trainer record at Equibase.com; see Elmer S. Clark Jr. in the online Daily Racing Form dated between 1977-1987; see M. Davis, "Horseman knows the Rest of the Story," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/10/2004, p.C1; and L. Shulman, "Last of a breed," Blood-Horse, 03/08/2003, pp.1392-1394 & p.1396.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Football, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Coleman, Fielding "Toke"
Birth Year : 1948
From Harrison County, KY, Toke Coleman was one of the first three African American basketball players at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in 1966. (The other two were Bobby Washington and Garfield Smith.) The San Diego Rockets chose Coleman in the 10th round of the 1970 NBA draft. Coleman was an outstanding basketball player at EKU, as he was during his public school playing days in Harrison County. During his senior year of high school, the 6'3" Coleman averaged 22 points and 15 rebounds, and his team made it to the quarterfinals of the Kentucky high school basketball tournament. He is an inductee of the Kentucky Men's Basketball 10th Region Hall of Fame. Toke Coleman was a brother to the late Louis Stout. Information from W. E. Ellis, 1906-2006 A Century of Opportunity, an EKU publication (removed website); and 1970 NBA Player Draft. See "Toke Coleman, Harrison net ace, enrolls at Eastern," Park City Daily News, 09/16/1966, p.13;

See photo image of Toke Coleman provided by plfemiag, a fanbase.com website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Harrison County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Covington, Glen E.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 1988
Glen E. Covington was a singer and pianist. He had also been captain of the basketball team at Central High School in Louisville, KY, and was awarded a basketball scholarship to Tennessee State College [now Tennessee State University]. Covington was born in Irving (probably Irvine), KY, grew up in Louisville, lived in Indianapolis, and died in Cleveland, OH. He was a nightclub pianist and singer who performed throughout the United States. His career as a professional performer began after he graduated from Tennessee State and won first place on an Aurthur Godfrey "Talent Scout Show." For more see "Glen E. Covington," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 16, issue 2 (Autumn 1988), p. 244; the Glen Covington entry in vol. 3 of the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and "Glen E. Covington, Singer, 61," The New York Times, 09/30/1988, p. B7.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Irving [probably Irvine], Estill County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Cowan, Fred
Birth Year : 1958
Fred Cowan was born in Sturgis, KY. The 6' 8" center/forward was a member of the University of Kentucky basketball team from 1977-1981; in his freshman year the team won the NCAA Championship. Cowan played in a total of 111 games during his college career, scoring a total of 975 points. He scored a career high 44 points against Clemson in 1979. Cowan is listed as one of the top 100 players of all time at the University of Kentucky. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the sixth round of the NBA 1981 draft but chose to play basketball in Japan, which he did for 10 years. He has had a number of businesses, including a demolition company. Today Cowan is a mortgage broker and owner of Statewide Mortgage Services in Madisonville and Lexington, KY. He is a brother of the late Brenda Cowan. For more see C. R. Hallstaff, "UK Basketball 100 years; Top 100 Players of All Time," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/24/2002, Sports section, p. O2X; and M. Davis, "He won't die rich, and he's not trying," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/10/2005, HealthFamily section, p. E1.

See photo image of Fred Cowan at bigbluehistory.net.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky / Japan, Asia

Cox, Wesley
Birth Year : 1955
Wesley Cox, a 6'6" forward, was an outstanding basketball player from Louisville, KY, in the 1970s.  He attended Male High School and was named Mr. Basketball in 1973. Cox played his college ball at the University of Louisville (U of L), 1973-77, and started all four years of his college career [see Wesley Cox Profile, a U of L website]. He played center his first season and was named the 1974 Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year. Cox scored 1,578 career points, averaging 13.9 points per game. During his four years at U of L, the basketball team had a 90-25 record and went to the NCAA Tournament three times. They were a final four team in 1972 and 1975. Cox was selected by the Golden State Warriors during the first round of the 1977 NBA Draft, and played for two years. For more see Sports legends of the 'Ville: the 1970's Card [Sports], a louisville.com website; and Wesley Cox at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Davis, William E. "Bunny"
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 2001
Born in Perryville, KY, William E. Davis played football, baseball and basketball at Bate High School in Danville. He was an all-state forward in basketball and selected to play on the All American Negro High School basketball team of 1936. It is thought that Davis was the first African American basketball player to be named an All-American. Davis could run the 100-yard dash in 9.7 seconds. He played semi-pro baseball prior to integration: in 1947 he joined the Lexington Hustlers, the first integrated baseball team in the South. Davis was the first African American to umpire baseball in state high school tournaments and the Kentucky Southeastern Conference. He was also the chief doorkeeper for the Kentucky House of Representatives. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; and "William 'Bunny' Davis, Athlete Commissioner," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/14/2001, Obituaries, p. B2. See also the sound recording interview with William E. "Bunny" Davis in Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

See photo image of William E. "Bunny" Davis at the Great Black Kentuckians website by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.


Access Interview Read about the William E. "Bunny" Davis oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Douglass Deamons (high school basketball), Lexington, KY, 1957
Start Year : 1957
Prior to 1957, the boys high school basketball teams did not play in an integrated tournament in Lexington, KY, or any other location in Kentucky. The Douglass High School team, the Deamons, was the first all-Negro team to play in the 43rd district tournament, February of 1957. The game took place in the University of Kentucky Memorial Coliseum. The Deamons were initially intimidated by the size of the gym and the crowd but were able to pull it together and beat the Nicholasville High School basketball team 87-45. All of the Douglass starters scored in double digits. Sam Corman was the leading scorer for Nicholasville.

  • Douglass High School - George Bell 21 points; Lyman Jones 20 points; John Burdette 18 points; Paul Price 15 points; Henry Bell 13 points; Coach Charles Livisay
  • Nicholasville High School - Sam Corman 18 points; Harlan Veal 12 points; Knight 2 points; Brumfield 2 points; Belcher 2 points; Royse 5 points; Hager 2 points; Goss 2 points - Coach Ralph Carlisle

For more see B. Thompson, "Douglas[s], Lafayette, Dunbar, advance in 43rd tourney," Lexington Leader, 02/28/1957, p. 9; and "Open high school tourney to Negroes," Crusader, 02/01/1957, p.1.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Duncan, Lillian W.
Birth Year : 1914
Lillian Duncan was an officer with the African American WACs at Fort Knox, KY, in 1945. Duncan was the Plans and Training Officer. When her unit was shipped to England, Duncan became a Second Lieutenant and was Executive Officer in Company C. The WACs who had been at Fort Knox, KY, became a part of the 6888 Postal Unit, the only African American women's military unit to go overseas during WWII. Lillian Duncan was born in 1914 in Taladega, AL, and enlisted at Fort McClellan on September 30, 1942, according to her enlistment record. She was a graduate of a four year college and was employed as a teacher. She had also been a WAAC at Fort Huachua, AZ, and was a member of the 32nd and 33rd WAACs basketball team. There is a photo of the team playing basketball outside, the photo is within the New York Public Library Digital Gallery [photo available online]. For more see "WAC overseas postal unit does good job in handling mail," New York Amsterdam News, 05/05/1945, p.8A. For information on earlier WAC unit in Kentucky see Myrtle D. Anderson and Margaret E. B. Jones entries in the NKAA Database.

Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations, Women's Army Corps (WACs)
Geographic Region: Taladega, Alabama / Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, & Meade Counties, Kentucky

Eaves, Jerry Lee
Birth Year : 1959
Born in Louisville, KY, Jerry L. Eaves played high school basketball at Ballard in Louisville and was selected as a McDonalds' All-American in 1978 after his team won the Kentucky state basketball championship. Eaves played college ball at the University of Louisville and was a member of the 1980 NCAA Championship team. The 6'4" guard was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 NBA draft and ended his professional playing career five years later with the Sacramento Kings. He played in a total of 168 games and had 1,132 points and 414 assists. Eaves was head basketball coach at North Carolina A & T University 2003-2012. For more see Jerry Eaves at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration West, Migration East
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Utah / Sacramento, California / North Carolina

Figgs, Ukari O.
Birth Year : 1977
Ukari Figgs was born in Georgetown, KY. In high school, she was an outstanding student and athlete, leading the Scott County girls' basketball team to a state title in 1995, the year she was named Miss Basketball of Kentucky. She played college ball at Purdue University, helping them win the 1999 women's NCAA title; Figgs was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. She graduated in 1999 with a degree in mechanical engineering and was drafted into the WNBA; Ukari Figgs was the first African American woman from the Bluegrass region to play in the WNBA. She was a member of the 2001 Los Angeles Sparks WNBA title team. In 2004, Figgs retired from the WNBA, where she had averaged 6.5 points, 3.1 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and had played in 151 games on three different teams. She was an engineer at Toyota Manufacturing in Georgetown, KY, and an assistant coach with the male varsity team at Scott County High School from 2004-2009. Figgs was named the assistant coach to the Purdue women's basketball team in 2009. Two years later, June 2011, Ukari Figgs was named the University of Kentucky's assistant athletic director for women's basketball. For more see Ukari Figgs, WNBA player information and Ukari Figgs Announces Retirement. See also M. Carmin, "Coaching lures Figgs back to Purdue," Journal and Courrier, 04/14/2009, Sports section, p.1,3C; and J. Tipton, "Figgs named women's basketball AD - 1995 Miss Basketball coached at Purdue," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/11/2011, p.D6.

See photo images and additional information about Ukari Figgs at the Los Angeles Sparks website and WNBA.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California / West Lafayette, Indiana / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Fitzpatrick, Jack "Jackie"
The 6'4" center was a member of the 1953 Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL) championship basketball team from Dunbar High School in Somerset, KY. The team was unbeaten for the season and runners-up in the 1954 National High School Tournament, held at Tennessee State University in March of that year. The tournament matched the best African American high school teams from as many as 17 states. Fitzpatrick played college ball at Knoxville College, a historically black college in Tennessee. He continued his career by playing guard for the Harlem Globetrotters and Saperstein's Chicago Majors, an American Basketball League team, from 1961 to 1963. Jack Fitzpatrick was inducted into the Dawahares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2005. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; P. Kuharsky, "Black teams lived out hoop dreams," The Tennessean (newspaper), 02/24/2005, p. 1C; and the KHSAA 2005 Inductees (pdf).
Subjects: Basketball, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky

Gaines, Clarence E., Sr. "BigHouse"
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2005
Born in Paducah, KY, Clarence E. Gaines was the salutatorian of his graduating class at Lincoln High School; he went on to graduate from Morgan State University with a chemistry degree. He had been on the basketball, football, and track teams. In 1946 Gaines began coaching football and later coached basketball. In 1967 his Winston-Salem State College [now Winston-Salem State University] team won the NCAA Division II basketball championship, led by Earl "The Pearl" Monroe. It was the first time that a historically Black college had won a national championship. The Clarence Edward "Big House" Gaines, Sr. Collection is housed in the Winston-Salem State University Archives and Manuscripts. He was the son of Lester and Olivia Bolen Gaines. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006; African-American sports greats: a biographical dictionary, ed. by D. L. Porter; V. Berstein, "Big House Gaines, 81, basketball coach, dies," The New York Times, Sports Desk section, p. 19; and The Legacy of Clarence Edward "Big House" Gaines, Sr., a Digital Forsyth website.

See photo images at the Digital Forsyth website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Football, Track & Field, Migration East, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Gilmore, Artis
Birth Year : 1949
Born in Florida, Artis Gilmore came to Kentucky in 1971 to play center for the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The 7'2" Gilmore previously played for two years at Gardner-Webb College and had an outstanding playing career at Jacksonville University. He was a first-round draft choice when the Kentucky Colonels selected him. The Kentucky Colonels existed from 1967-1976 and won the 1975 ABA Finals. Gilmore was named rookie of the year and player of the year his first year in the league, was overall league leader in rebounds and had many more accomplishments during his ABA career. In 1976, the ABA and NBA merged, and Gilmore continued his career with several NBA teams. He retired in 1989 as one of the all-time leaders in number of games played and rebounds. For more on Artis Gilmore see Who's Who of Sports Champions (1995). For more about the Kentucky Colonels see Remembering the ABA: Kentucky Colonels.

See photo images and additional information on Artis Gilmore at NBA.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Jacksonville, Florida / Kentucky / Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Givens, Jack L. "Goose"
Birth Year : 1956
Jack Givens was born in Lexington, KY. A 6' 4" forward and guard, he scored 41 points while leading the University of Kentucky to the 1978 NCAA Championship. He was a three-time All-SEC player and second leading scorer in the history of the school. Givens was the first African American All-American in Kentucky. He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and played for two years. Jack Givens is a brother to Reuben Givens and the newphew of Lou Johnson. For more see Jack Givens at databaseBasketball.com.

See photo image and additional information about jack Givens at bigbluehistory.net.

Access Interview Read about the Jack L. Givens oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Givens, Reuben, and Ruth Newby Givens Roper
Givens and Roper are the parents of actress Robin Givens, former wife of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, and Stephanie Givens, former professional tennis player. Both Reuben Givens and Ruth Newby Givens Roper are Lexington natives. Reuben was a star baseball and basketball player at Douglass and Lafayette High Schools. He was coached by Charles H. Livisay at Douglass. In 1962, Givens averaged 24.7 points in basketball, winning the Fayette County scoring title, but he did not receive the trophy after the sponsor backed out. He was the first African American basketball player at Lafayette; Douglass High was closed as part of the school system's integration plan. Givens graduated from Lafayette in 1964, the same year he married Ruth Newby. The family lived in New York, where Reuben Givens was tending his options as a professional basketball and baseball player. Ruth had been living in New York with her mother since her parents had divorced when she was a small child; she met Reuben while visiting family in Lexington. Reuben and Ruth Givens divorced in 1969. Reuben Givens, who still resides in New York, is the son of Betty and Dave Givens, the nephew of professional baseball player Lou Johnson, and a brother of University of Kentucky basketball player Jack Givens. For more see the Lexington Herald-Leader articles: B. Reed, "Robin Givens' dad a former Douglass High star," 10/20/1988, Sports section, p. C1, and "Robin Givens' parents are Lexington natives," 10/15/1988, Sports section, p. D17.
Subjects: Baseball, Basketball, Fathers, Migration North, Mothers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York

Glover, Clarence E.
Birth Year : 1947
Clarence E. Glover was born in Horse Cave, KY, and played basketball and baseball at Caverna High School. He was named All-State and All-American in basketball. Glover played college basketball at Western Kentucky University and helped lead the team to the 1971 NCAA Final Four. The team lost to Villanova in double overtime, 92-89. Glover was a 6'8" forward and averaged 8.4 points per game. He was the first round, tenth pick, of the Boston Celtics in the 1971 NBA Draft, and played for one season, averaging 2.6 points per game. He played with the Hartford Capitols in the CBA (Continental Basketball Association) from 1972-1974. Clarence Glover went on to become a high school teacher, basketball coach, and a high school principal. He earned his graduate degree from Butler University, and he is a co-founder of Frenchburg Academy, an alternative school in Frenchburg, KY. He is the assistant principal of Farnsley Middle School in Louisville, KY. Clarence Glover was inducted into the 2007 WKU Athletic Hall of Fame. For more see Clarence Glover at Basketball-Reference.com; "All-Star fever hits Bowling Green" at visitbgky.com; "What the Hell Happened to...Clarence Glover?" at the celticslife website.

See photo images and video with Clarence Glover at the celticslife website.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frenchburg, Menifee County, Kentucky

Gordon, Robert L.
Birth Year : 1941
Death Year : 2007
Gordon was born in Lexington, KY, to Alice Gordon Williams and Roscoe Demus. He was a graduate of Edward Waters College and the College of Finger Lakes. He had been a teacher and baseball coach and also played basketball with the Harlem Astronauts. Gordon had also worked for the Ford Motor Company in labor relations and left the company to become president of his own business, Premier Personnel Placement Consultant, Inc. He was a member of President Reagan's Task Force on the Private Sector and was the former Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He was listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Blacks by Ebony magazine. Gordon was Personnel Director of the City of Highland Park, MI, before becoming City Manager of Inkster, MI. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006; Robert L. Gordon in "Obituaries," Ann Arbor News, 06/15/2007, p. A13; and M. Tippen, "Former City Manager Robert Gordon dies," Journal Newspapers Online, 06/14/2007.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Highland Park and Inkster, Michigan

Grant, Travis "The Machine"
Birth Year : 1950
Travis Grant was born in Clayton, AL, and played basketball at Barbour County High School. He played college ball at Kentucky State University, where he led the team to three consecutive NAIA Championships: 1970, 1971, and 1972. He led the team in scoring his freshman year in 1969. The teams were coached by Lucias Mitchell. ESPN journalist Mary Buckheit referred to Grant as the "most prolific scorer in college basketball history." Grant has won a number of awards and holds the NCAA All-Divisions all-time record for field goals in a career (1,760). He also held NAIA records for Career Points Average (33.4) and is fourth on the NCAA All-Divisions list for total points in a season with 1,304 points. He is 11th for single-season average with 39.5 points in 1972. In a game against Northwood, Travis Grant scored 75 points. He was selected first round, 13th pick, by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1972 NBA Draft. Grant played for four seasons in both the NBA and the ABA, averaging 15.7 points per game. During the 1973-74 season, he averaged 25.2 points per game while playing for the San Diego Conquistadors. in 2009, Travis Grant was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, MO. After his basketball career, Grant became a high school teacher and coach, and in 2008 was an assistant principal and athletic director at Stephenson High School in Atlanta, GA. For additional information see "College basketball's all-time scorer lives in obscurity," by M. Buckheit, 02/22/08, at ESPN.com [available online]; Travis Grant at Lakers.com; M. Story, "A man, a machine and a champion - in 1971, KSU's Grant played on arguably the best team in KY," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/26/2009, Sports section, p. B2; and Travis Grant in Basketball, by D. L. Porter. This entry was submitted by Lacy L. Rice, Jr.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Clayton, Alabama / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Griffith, Darrell A.
Birth Year : 1958
Darrell A. Griffith was born in Louisville, KY. He was invited to the 1976 Olympic trials as a high school basketball player. As a 6' 4" guard at the University of Louisville, he acquired the nickname "Dr. Dunkenstein," led the school to its 1980 NCAA basketball championship and received the John Wooden Award as the nation's top player. He was drafted by the Utah Jazz and chosen Rookie of the Year for the 1980-1981 season. For more see Darrell Griffith on Basketball-Reference.com; Darrell Griffith in Basketball: a biographical dictionary by D. L. Porter, pp.177-178; and Darrell Griffith on p.392 in The Kentucky Encyclopedia.


Subjects: Basketball, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Utah

Grundy, Anthony
Birth Year : 1979
Anthony Grundy, a 6'3" shooting guard and point guard, played his last year of high school basketball at Warren Central in Bowling Green, KY (1996-97). Born in Louisville, KY, Grundy had transferred from Louisville Central High School where he was named one of twenty McDonald's All-Americans in Kentucky [source: Frakes, J. "Principal denies Central broke rule," Daily News, 12/12/1996, Section B, p.1 (available online)]. The transfer was contested and the case was eventually heard by the U.S. District Court [source: J. Beck, "Central hoopsters' hearing passes, decision pending," Daily News, 02/09/1997, Section B, p.4-B (available online)]. Grundy was allowed to play at Warren Central High School (1996-97), though the school was heavily penalized by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) [source: "1997-06-10, June Special Meeting, Board of Control Minutes," KHSAA (available online)]. The entire incident has been referred to as one of the most impact transfers in Kentucky high school athletics history. On the basketball court, Grundy averaged 26.2 points per game and lead Warren Central to the 14th District Championship, but that was the end of the season; due to KHSAA penalties, the team was not allowed to play any post-season games, though Grundy was allowed to play with the Kentucky All-Stars team [source: J. Frakes "Grundy shines with Ky. All-Star team," Daily News, 06/30/1997, Sports Section, p.8A (available online)]. Grundy next attended Hargrave Military Academy (1997-98) before enrolling at North Carolina State Univesity (NCU) in the fall of 1998. During his basketball career at NCU, he was named ACC All-Tournament 2nd team his first year; lead the team in scoring his second year; was an honorable mention of the ACC All-Defensive team his third year; had 120 assists his senior year; and he is ranked 11th in the schools history for made 3-point shots [source: Anthony Grundy at the North Carolina Wolfpack webpage; and Anthony Grundy at Basketball-Reference.com]. Anthony Grundy made his NBA debut in 2006 when he signed a 10 day contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Overall, his professional basketball career has allowed him to see much of the world while playing in the Italian League, the Greek League, the Turkish League, the Philippine Basketball Association where his team won the 2011 PBA Governor's Cup, and the Iranian Basketball Super League. 

 

  See Anthony Grundy #16 AZAD Basketball Club, Iran Basketball Super League (IBSL) 2014, on YouTube.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisivlle, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Raleigh, North Carolina / Italy and Turkey, Europe / Philippines and Iran, Asia

Hamilton, James, Jr. "Joe"
Birth Year : 1948
Hamilton was born in Lexington, KY. He was an All-American high school basketball player at old Dunbar, coached by S. T. Roach. Hamilton was a 5 foot 10 inch guard who played college ball at Christian College of the Southwest, where he was a two-time Junior College All American. [Read more about the junior college in The Handbook of Texas Online.] At North Texas State [now University of North Texas] he was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference Player. Hamilton was also selected as an alternate on the 1968 U.S. Olympics Basketball Team. In 1970, he was drafted by the Texas Chaparrals, an ABA team. He was a member of the San Antonio Spurs, also an ABA team, during the 1973-74 season, before being traded to the Kentucky Colonels. He played for the Utah Stars 1975-76. For more see the James "Joe" Hamilton, Jr. entry in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; the Joe Hamilton entry at databaseBasketball.com; and the Texas Chaparrals at remembertheaba.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hampton, Kym
Birth Year : 1962
Born in Louisville, KY, Kym Hampton graduated from Iroquois High School in 1980, where she was a basketball and track star. She played college ball at Arizona State University, scoring over 2,000 points and setting eight career records, graduating in 1984 with a degree in theatre. She was inducted into the Arizona State Hall of Fame in 1989. She is also ninth on the NCAA's all-time career rebounds list. Hampton played professional basketball outside the U.S. for 13 years, and during her final year with the Italian League in 1996, was the leading rebounder. The WNBA team, New York Liberty, signed Hampton during the Elite Draft in 1997; she was the first African American player from Kentucky in the WNBA. The New York Liberty team was runner-up in the finals against the Houston Comets in the 1997 and 1999 WNBA Championship games. Hampton retired from the league in 1999 after a knee injury, taking her career in other directions with modeling, acting, the music business, basketball camps, and public speaking. In 2005 she was inducted into the Dawahares'/Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. For more see J. Demling, "Hall of Famer Hampton finds there's a spotlight after basketball," Courier Journal, 03/16/2005.

See photo image of Kym Hampton at the Diamond and Company website.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Migration West, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Arizona / Italy, Europe / New York

Harrison, Lisa
Birth Year : 1971
Born in Mount Washington, KY, Lisa Harrison was a 6'1" forward when she played high school basketball at Louisville Southern, where she scored more than 3,000 points. In 1989, she was named Miss Kentucky Basketball and Naismith Player of the Year. Harrison played college basketball at the University of Tennessee from 1989 to 1993; Tennessee won the 1991 NCAA Championship. She was a Naismith finalist her senior year when she averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds. Harrison's professional career began in 1996 when she played one year with the Columbus Quest and two years with the Portland Power, both teams part of the now defunct American Basketball League (ABL), which had its first season in 1996. Harrison was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletics Association's Hall of Fame in 1998. She was picked up by the Phoenix Mercury in the 1999 WNBA draft and stayed with the team until 2003, then rejoined it in 2005. She played in 160 games, averaging 6.8 points and 4 rebounds. Harrison was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2006, she was hired as an outreach coordinator at the University of Louisville Athletics Department. For more see J. Pitts, "High school basketball: Anderson, Harrison named Naismith players of year," USA Today, 03/23/1989; J. Quick, "Portland Power player profiles," The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 10/13/1996; and Mercury Re-Signs Lisa Harrison, 05/20/2005, a WNBA web page.

See photo image and additional information on Lisa Harrison at the University of Louisville website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Mount Washington, Bullitt County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Haskins, Clem S.
Birth Year : 1943
Clem Haskins was born in Campbellsville, KY. The 6'3" Haskins was the first African American student at Taylor County High School and led the school's basketball team to the state tournament. He attended college at Western Kentucky University, where he also played basketball and was named All-American three years running. His team went to the NCAA tournament in 1966. Haskins went on to play in the NBA; he was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 draft. At the end of his professional basketball career, he returned to Western Kentucky University in 1977 and became the school's first African American head basketball coach in 1980. In 1986 he became the head coach at the University of Minnesota, leaving the school in the wake of academic scandal in 1999. He is author of Clem Haskins: Breaking Barriers. Haskins is the brother of Merion Haskins and the husband of Yevette Haskins. For more see Western Kentucky University 1991 Hall of Fame Inductees; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Clem Haskins at ESPN website article by D. O'Neil, "Clem Haskins at home away from hoops on his Kentucky farm."


Access Interview Read about the Clem Haskins oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Authors, Basketball
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Minnesota

Haskins, Merion
Birth Year : 1955
Merion Haskins was born in Campbellsville, KY. The 6'4" forward played high school basketball at Taylor County High School; he ranks fifth among its all-time leading scorers with 1,761 points. Haskins played college ball for the University of Kentucky (UK) from 1973 to 1977, playing in a total of 86 games and scoring 134 points. Haskins and Larry Johnson were the second and third African American players recruited by UK's Coach Joe B. Hall; they were two of the earliest African American recruits to the UK basketball team. Haskins, a UK College of Agriculture graduate, did not play professional basketball; he was employed as a leaf procurement officer with Philip Morris USA. He is the brother of Clem Haskins. For more see Merion Haskins in  "Gumm, Cards back in groove with 74-50 romp at Knox," Central Kentucky News Journal, 03/01/2004; Merion Haskins on the Big Blue History website; and R. Weckman, "What a difference a generation makes" in the UK College of Agriculture's the magazine, Spring 2000.


Subjects: Agriculturalists, Produce, Basketball
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky

Helm, Carl "Kingfish"
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2001
From Horse Cave, KY, Helm played guard for the Harlem Globetrotters (1948-1955). He received the Globetrotters' distinguished Legend Award. After his basketball career, Helm worked in maintenance and security at the Ashland Oil refinery in Catlettsburg. For more see "Ex-Horse Cave Standout Legendary Globetrotter 'Kingfish' Helped Harlem Conquer Lakers," Lexington Herald Leader, 02/20/2001.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky / Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky

Higgs, Kenny Lee
Birth Year : 1955
Born in Owensboro, KY, Kenny L. Higgs is the brother of Mark Higgs. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Owensboro High School basketball team, having scored 1,833 points from 1971-1974. The 6'0" guard went on to play college ball at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he had over 500 total assists and is one of two players to hold the all-time high of 19 assists for a single college game [LSU vs Mississippi State, 1978]. Higgs was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third round of the 1978 NBA draft. He ended his career with the Denver Nuggets in 1982. He was a member of the 1981 Denver Nuggets playoff team, totaling over 400 assists that year. In 1999, Higgs was inducted into the Owensboro-Daviess County Tourist Commission's Hall of Fame. For more see Kenny Higgs, in The Official NBA Encyclopedia, ed. by J. Hubbard; and R. Greene, "Higgs still owns the courts," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 07/23/1999.

See photo image of Kenny Lee Higgs at the CavsHistory website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Hooper, Ernest Jackson [Oliver School (Winchester, KY)]
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1983
Ernest J. Hooper was a teacher and the sports coach for boys at Oliver School in Winchester, KY. Oliver, in operation from 1892-1956, was a segregated school for African American children. It became a four-year high school in 1928. During Hooper's brief tenure at the school, he established the beginning of champion sports teams for boys; under Hooper's direction, the teams were the 1923 Blue Grass League Champions in football and the 1923-24 Blue Grass League Champions in basketball. Photos of the boys' 1923 football team, the boys' 1922 basketball team, and the girls' 1922 basketball team, are available at the University of Kentucky Audio-Visual Archives, which also includes a typed list of the football and basketball players' names and their positions on the teams. The pictures, along with many others of later sports teams, can be found in Louis Stout's Shadows of the Past. Stout's book also includes the names of the members of the Blue Grass Coaches Association on p. 6. E. J. Hooper was from Philadelphia, PA, the son of Louisa Hooper [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census] and the grandson of Georgianna Jackson, according to the World War I registration card completed when Hooper was 18 years old. By 1923, Hooper was a teacher in Winchester, KY, and during the Business Session of the KNEA Conference, he gave the address "The Educational Content of an Industrial Subject" [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, p. 11]. In the same issue of the publication, on p. 62, Hooper's home address is given as 127 W. Broadway Street in Winchester. In 1925, Hooper was mentioned in the KNEA Journal [April 22-25, p. 16] as the chair of the Manual Training Section. Also in 1925, the Oliver School basketball team was again champion of the Blue Grass League, when James Nance was the coach. Ernest J. Hooper left Kentucky and in 1928 was a shop teacher at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, IN [source: Industrial-arts Magazine, vol. 17 (1928), p. 149]. By 1930, Hooper was married and teaching in Peoria [source: U.S. Federal Census]. He was a graduate of Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Illinois [source: Crisis, August 1930, p. 264]. [Bradley Polytechnic Institute would become Bradley University.] Hooper died in October 1983 in Cincinnati, OH [source: Social Security Death Index]. See photo of Coach Hooper and the 1923 football team in the UK libguide titled African American Primary Resources in Special Collections.

See photo image of 1923 Oliver football team in UK libguide African American Primary Resources in Special Collections

See photo image in Explore UK of the girl's basketball team at Oliver School.

See photo image in Explore UK of the boy's basketball team at Oliver School.
 
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Military & Veterans, Migration South
Geographic Region: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Peoria, Illinois / Cincinnati, Ohio

Houston, Allan W., Jr.
Birth Year : 1971
Houston was born in Louisville, KY. He was one of the best shooting guards in the National Basketball Association and one of the highest paid players. The 6'6" Houston led his Louisville Ballard High School team to a state championship in 1988 while also becoming an honor student. Houston played his college ball at the University of Tennessee, averaging 21.9 points per game to become the school's all-time leading scorer. He graduated with a B.A. in African American Studies in 1994. Drafted 11th by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1993 NBA draft, Houston ended his career with the New York Knicks, retiring in October 2005. He is the son of Wade Houston. For more see Current Biography (2003) and Allan Houston, an nba.com website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Tennessee / Detroit / New York

Houston, Allan W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1944
Known as Wade Houston, he was one of the first African American basketball players at the University of Louisville. He graduated in 1966 and was inducted into the Louisville Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. Head coach of the Louisville Male High School men's basketball team in 1975, Houston compiled a 90-12 record while guiding the team to a state championship. He returned to the University of Louisville in 1976 to become the first African American assistant men's basketball coach. In 1989 he became head coach at the University of Tennessee, the first African American head coach in the Southeastern Conference. Houston compiled a 65-90 record over the five years at Tennessee. Houston, born in Alcoa, TN, is the husband of Alice Kean Houston, and the father of Allan Houston. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, vols. 7-17; and Wade and Alice Kean Houston in Who's Who of Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, pp.80-81.
Subjects: Basketball, Fathers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Alcoa, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Knoxville, Tennessee

Hughes, Brenda Lee Garner
Birth Year : 1947
Death Year : 1986

This entry was written and submitted by Dr. Sallie Powell, University of Kentucky.

Brenda Lee Garner Hughes was the first African American woman to officiate the Kentucky High School Athletic Association's "Sweet Sixteen" Girls' State Basketball Tournament. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, she was the only daughter of Mathew and Alice Garner. She graduated from Dunbar High School. As a divorced mother of Monique and Lucy Lee, Brenda worked for the U. S. Post Office and as a seasonal employee for the Lexington Division of Parks and Recreation where she learned to officiate basketball. She became the first woman to officiate the Lexington Senior Dirt Bowl basketball tournament. In 1995, she was posthumously inducted into the Dawahares Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame.

For more see:

Powell, Sallie L., "'It Is Hard To Be What You Have Had Seen': Brenda Hughes and The Black and White of the Zebra Shirt—Race and Gender in Kentucky High School Basketball," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Special Edition, Volume 109, No. 3 & 4, Summer and Autumn 2011, pp. 433-465.

See photo image of Brenda Hughes in UKnowledge.

Subjects: Basketball, Postal Service, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hunter, Charles "Charlie"
Birth Year : 1946
Born in Glasgow, KY, Hunter played basketball at Ralph Bunche High School in Glasgow, where he was the all-time leading scorer. Hunter was the first African American basketball player recruited by the University of Louisville, but he opted to play at Oklahoma City University. During his college career, Hunter scored 1,319 points and pulled down 584 rebounds; the team went to the NCAA Tournament four consecutive years. Hunter and his high school teammate Jerry Lee Wells were the first two African American basketball players at Oklahoma City University. Hunter was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1966, Hunter was chosen by the Boston Celtics in the sixth round of the NBA draft, but his career was cut short due to an ankle injury. He returned to Kentucky and is presently the academic advisor of the Western Kentucky University branch in Glasgow, KY. For more see Shadows of the Past, by L. Stout; M. Evans "OCU Women State's Surprise Team 7-0, Broncos Off to Best Start Since 1982-83 Season," Daily Oklahoman, 12/01/1997; and N. Haney "Spirit of '66 alive and well; Glory Road' brings back memories for local duo," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 01/16/2006.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

Jameson, Max W.
Birth Year : 1935
Six foot four Max W. Jameson, from Frankfort, KY, was a basketball player at Kentucky State University (K-State). He played center and was named to the All-Midwestern Conference his sophomore and senior year [sources: "Grambling wins Midwest Tournament; defeats Lincoln in finals," Arkansas State Press, 02/25/1955, p.3; and "All-Midwest cage team selected," Baltimore Afro-American, 02/26/1957, p.15]. He averaged 17.8 during his 4 years on the Kentucky State University basketball team [source: "Max Jamison [Jameson] by Warriors gets drafted," Louisville Defender, 04/25/1957]. During his senior year, Jameson was named to the College AllStars and played four games in the team series against the Harlem Globetrotters. In 1957, Jameson was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors [now Golden State Warriors] in the 7th round of the NBA Draft [source: NBA Draft History webpage]. During the 1961-62 season, Max Jameson played forward on the ABL team Cleveland Pipers; the team had a record of 45-36 and finished 1st in the ABL East Division. Jameson next played for the Harlem Globetrotters and is listed on the All-Time Roster. In 2007, Max Jameson was inducted into the Kentucky State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Max W. James and his twin brother Scott Jameson were born in Frankfort, KY, the sons of James and Mary Lucille Warren Jameson, the family of 6 lived at 313 Hill Street in Frankfort, KY [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. The paternal grandparents of Max W. Jameson were Mattie Clay and Scott Maryland Jameson, Sr., their portraits are available in the Jameson Family Collection at the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans, Kentucky State University.

 

  See photo image of Max Jameson in the Kentucky Historical Society, Digital Collections.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Jameson, Scott M., III
Birth Year : 1935
Scott M. Jameson, III was a basketball player at Kentucky State Univesity (K-State). He and James Goss were co-captains of the team during the 1955-56 season when Jameson was a senior. Both Goss and Jameson's senior sweaters are held in the archival collections of the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA) at Kentucky State University. Jameson was a sociology major at K-State [source: 1956 Throughbred (yearbook), pp.58, 69, & 117]. He played professional basketball for the Harlem Globetrotters and Washington Generals, a team that traveled with the Harlem Globetrotters [source: within the article by A. Meacham, "Epilogue: Retired St. Petersburg Junior College dean James Goss always took charge," Tampa Bay Times, 04/05/2014, p.1B]. Scott M. Jameson, III is the son of James and Mary Lucille Warren Jameson, the family of 6 lived at 313 Hill Street in Frankfort, KY [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Scott and his twin brother Max Jameson were born in Frankfort, KY. The paternal grandparents of Scott M. Jameson, II were Mattie Clay and Scott Maryland Jameson, Sr., their portraits are available in the Jameson Family Collection at the Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans, Kentucky State University.

 

  See photo image of Scott Jameson at the Kentucky Historical Society, Digital Collections.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Johnson, Arthur L., Jr.
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2005
Arthur Lloyd Johnson, Jr. was the second African American Democrat elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, serving from 1964-1965. He was also first violinist with the Louisville Civic Orchestra and a former vice president of the Mid-Western Tennis Association. He was a high school teacher in Louisville. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Kansas and Hampton Institute [now Hampton University], where he played basketball and football. He was born in Lawrence, KS. For more contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission; J. Packett, "Losing in tennis surely spotlights winning attitude, Johnson, nearing 80, gets respect," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 08/10/1994, Sports section, p. E7; and Arthur Lloyd Johnson, Jr. in the obituaries section of the Louisville Courier-Journal, 12/29/2005.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Football, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Tennis, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lawrence, Kansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Hampton, Virginia

Johnson, Don
Birth Year : 1927
Don Johnson was born and reared in Covington, KY. He attended William Grant High School, where he was a noted talent in basketball, baseball, and track and field. He played baseball and softball informally until he was picked up by the Chicago American Giants in 1949, later playing for the Philadelphia Stars, Baltimore Elite Giants, and the Detroit Stars, all Negro League teams. Johnson was still playing baseball in the White Oak League in 1999. He was living in Cincinnati in 2005. For more see Don Johnson at the Negro League Baseball Players Association website; J. Erardi, "Don Johnson, pulled out of the stands into a career," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 07/04/1999; and Shadows of the past, by L. Stout.

See photo image of Don Johnson and additional information at the Cincinnati.com website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Migration North, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Johnson, Larry
Birth Year : 1954
Born in Morganfield, KY, Larry Johnson was a 6'3" guard who played high school basketball in Union County, KY; he was the first of three African Americans from Union County recruited by the University of Kentucky (UK). (The other two players were Dwane Casey and Fred Cowan.) Johnson played at UK from 1973-1977, scoring a total of 850 points in 112 games, and was a member of the 1976 NIT Championship team. Johnson was chosen by the Buffalo Braves [now the Los Angeles Clippers] in the second round of the 1977 NBA draft and played for one year. For more see Larry Johnson at databaseBasketball.com; Larry Johnson at the Big Blue History website; and C. Hallstaff, "UK Basketball 100 Years: top 100 players of all time," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 11/24/2002.

See photo image of Larry Johnson at the Big Blue History website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky / Buffalo, New York

Jones, Bobby "Toothpick"
Birth Year : 1938
Jones, from Maysville, KY, was the first African American high school basketball player to receive All-state honors in Kentucky. Jones got his nickname because he always had a toothpick in his mouth. In 1957, standing at 6' 3" and weighing 215 pounds, Jones was the second African American basketball player at the University of Dayton [the first was Charles "Ben" Jones from Danville, KY]. Bobby Jones averaged 10 points per game during his sophomore year but was kicked off the team because he had broken several team rules: he got married, rode a scooter that he crashed (he was hospitalized for his injuries), and fought with his teammates. Jones then transferred to Marshall University but left because he did not want to sit-out for a year before becoming eligible to play on the basketball team. He next played in the AAU League and also toured with the Harlem Stars and the Harlem Satellites basketball teams. After his basketball career ended, Jones got a job and also drove a cab on weekends before eventually returning to college: in 1972 he graduated from Ohio State University and a few years later earned his master's degree at Xavier University. In 1991, Jones was living in Cincinnati, OH, and taught at Holmes High School in Covington, KY. For more information see "Toothpick forgotten in UD hoop lore," Dayton Daily News, 02/16/1991, Sports section, p. 1B.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Dayton Ohio

Jones, Charles B., Sr. "Ben"
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2001
Charles B. Jones, Sr. was born in Danville, KY, and grew up in Cincinnati, OH. He was the first African American basketball player at the University of Dayton where he graduated in 1949. Among his occupations, Jones was employed as business manager for African American boxer, Ezzard Mack Charles, a heavyweight champion, alias "The Cincinnati Cobra." Jones is most remembered for launching and directing the Dayton Youth Golf Academy in 1989 for inner city children. He also served as a volunteer golf instructor with the organization. Jones was inducted into the Dayton Golf Hall of Fame in 1993. Charles B. Jones, Sr. was the son of Charles and Emma Jones, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and the family of six, all born in Kentucky, lived on Clinton Street in Cincinnati. For more see B. Albers, "Madden Memorial to honor local golf teacher," Dayton Daily News, 05/19/2002, Sports section, p.7D.
Subjects: Basketball, Golf and Golfers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio

Kean, William L. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1958
While a student at Louisville Central High School, Kean was captain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams. The 5' 7" athlete weighed 140 pounds when he played football at Howard University, where he also earned letters in three other sports. He was one of the school's first 4-letter athletes and in 1922 was named to the Negro All-American Team as a quarterback. As a coach, he directed the Louisville Central football team to a 225-45-12 record. As the basketball coach, he led the Louisville Central Yellow Jackets to wins in 857 of its 940 games. Kean was the son of Alice E. and William T. Kean, and the maternal grandfather of NBA player Allen Houston, and a brother to Henry A. Kean, Sr. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kentucky State College, Women's Basketball, 1981 NAIA Champion
Start Year : 1981
The Kentucky State College women's basketball team won the first NAIA Women's Basketball Title in 1981. The team defeated Texas Southern 73-67 for the championship in Kansas City, MO. At the end of the regular season, the Kentucky State team was ranked 7th among the 8 teams in the tournament; the Thorobreds had a pre-tournament record of 15-7 and an overall record of 21-7. The team members included Carolyn Walker, a 5'7" senior who was the tournament's most valuable player and was named First Team All-Tournament; she averaged 20 points and five rebounds per game during the regular season. Pam King, center, was a sophomore who stood 5'11"; she was named Second Team All-Tournament. Angelia Barnett, a freshman, was a forward standing 5'10"; she was named Second Team All-Tournament. Other team members included Paula Jennels, Felicia Jordan, Darlene Brown, and Rhonda Beauford. The team was initially coached by Cornieth Y. Russell, then replaced by Ron Mitchell, who was also the school's athletic director; he became the interim coach midway through the regular season after the head coach was removed. He was named NAIA Coach of the Year after the tournament. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women's Basketball Tournament was established in 1981. To date, the 1981 win by the Kentucky State College Thorobreds is the team's only NAIA championship. KSC was the first HBCU (Historically Black College and University) and, so far, only HBCU to win an NAIA women’s basketball national championship. They were also the first women’s college basketball team in Kentucky to win a national championship [the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament started in 1982]. For more see "Kentucky State women win NAIA basketball crown," Jet, 04/09/1981, p. 52; NAIA website; NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Records; E. Patton, "Reflecting on the past: KSU's 1981 women's NAIA championship team to be honored," State Journal (Frankfort, KY), 03/13/2013, reprinted in BSTM [Black Sports The Magazine] Special Edition, May 2013, vol. 5, pp. 4-5 [online .pdf]; and Kentucky State University website about the 1981 team’s recognition.

 
Subjects: Basketball, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Kentucky Wesleyan University, 1957
Start Year : 1957
The All-American City Basketball Tournament was held at Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1957. On January 2, Iona was scheduled to play Ole Miss in the second game, but prior to the tipoff, Ole Miss Coach Bonnie Graham pulled his team off the floor because the Iona team had an African American player, Stanley Hill. As the Ole Miss players left the court, Hill stood in the middle of the floor feeling hurt and humiliated. Coach Graham had received a call from Mississippi Governor James P. Coleman ordering that Ole Miss not play any team that had an African American player. The Iona team was awarded a 2-0 forfeit. Later that night, Ole Miss players went to Hill's motel room and apologized. The forfeit was erased from the Ole Miss athletic records, making it look as if the team had never participated in the tournament. In 2001, Iona and Ole Miss were paired in the NCAA Tournament. Stanley Hill was flown to Kansas City to watch the game as a guest of Ole Miss; it was a gesture to heal a 44-year-old wound. Hill sat beside Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove. Iona lost the game 72-70. For more see "News and views; the night Ole Miss walked off the floor rather than play basketball against a team with a Black player," The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 04/30/2001, issue 31, p. 83; and "Former Iona basketball player honored as University of Mississippi gestures to heal racism," Jet, 04/02/01.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

King, Ron
Birth Year : 1951
Ron King, a 6'4" shooting guard, was born in Louisville, KY. He played high school ball at Central High School where he scored 44 points in the state title game against Ohio County in 1969 [source: C. L. Brown, "Central High back in the middle of things," Louisville Courier-Journal, 03/18/2008, p.C.1.]. The championship win gave Central High School its first state basketball title and Ron King was selected as Kentucky's Mr. Basketball. He chose Florida State University to play his college ball and scored 35.7 points while on the freshman team 1969-70 [NCAA did not allow freshmen to play on the school's regulation team]. King was an All-American Honorable Mention his sophomore year; he averaged 22.7 points per game. During his junior year, King averaged 17.9 points; he was 1st Team All-American. He took the Florida State University basketball team to their first NCAA Final Four; they lost in the championship game 81-76 to UCLA. In his final year at Florida State, six games into the season, King tore three ligaments in his left ankle when he stepped on another player's foot; he was out for the rest of the season. King was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 4th round of the 1973 NBA Draft, and he was also selected by the Kentucky Colonels, an ABA team. He chose to play for the Kentucky Colonels and stayed a few months before going to play for the Golden State Warriors for a short period, then left and tried out for a few other teams, including a brief stint in Israel, and a return to the U.S. to play for the Kentucky Stallions before the team folded. Ron King returned to Louisville and became the Youth Director of the California Community Center. In 2005, Ron King's jersey was retired at Florida State University. For more see C. Ray Hall, "Headline: What's up with...? Ron King; Former Central star scores as youth director," Louisville Courier-Journal, 02/02/2004, p.E.1; D. Poore, "Trip to Florida State revived memories for Central's Ron King," Louisville Courier-Journal, 12/28/2009, Section: ZONE; and Ron King at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lee, James (basketball)
Birth Year : 1956
Born in 1956 in Lexington, KY, James Lee played high school basketball at Henry Clay in Lexington. The 6'5" forward played college basketball at the University of Kentucky from 1974 to 1978, participating in 116 games and scoring 996 total points, including the mighty dunk that ended the 1978 NCAA Championship victory over Duke. Lee was selected by the Seattle Supersonics in the second round of the 1978 NBA draft but was soon released; he played with teams in the Continental Basketball Association until 1983. For more see James Lee on the Big Blue History web page; and H. Raystaff, "What's up with... James Lee," Courier Journal (Louisville), 04/03/2005.


Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Lewis, Sherman
Birth Year : 1942
Sherman Lewis was born in Louisville, KY. An All-State halfback on the Louisville Manual High School football team, he also earned letters in basketball and track and field. An All-American in college, he came in third in voting for the Heisman Trophy while playing at Michigan State University, where he also excelled in track and field. Lewis played professional football for a brief period for the Toronto Argonauts and the New York Jets. It was his dream to become a head football coach, but it never happened. For 14 years, Lewis was an assistant football coach at Michigan State (1968-1982). He was an assistant running backs coach with the San Francisco 49ers from 1983 to 1992, during which time the team won three Super Bowls. He was an offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers (1992-2000); they also won a Super Bowl during his tenure. Prior to retiring in 2004, Lewis was also part of the coaching staff for Minnesota and Detroit. In 1994, Sherman Lewis was inducted into the Dawhares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. For more see "Sherman Lewis: All-American halfback & longtime coach," 02/17/2007, at MSUSpartans.com; "Sherman Lewis: former Spartan football and track standout," 09/04/2001, at MSUSpartans.cstv.com; 1994 Dawhares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class at KHSAA.org; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2006.


Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Football, Track & Field
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / East Lansing, Michigan

Livisay, Charles H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1990
Charles Livisay was active in civil rights as both a civic leader and politician, and he is also remembered as an outstanding tennis and basketball player and an outstanding basketball coach at Douglass High School. Livisay, born in Lexington, KY, was a graduate of old Dunbar High School and a 1935 graduate of Kentucky State University. He taught for a year at Dunbar High School in Mayfield, KY, but left teaching due to the low pay and took a job with Mammoth Life Insurance. In 1943 he left that job to serve in the U.S. Army. Livisay returned to Lexington and was head basketball coach for 18 years at Douglass High. The team finished second to Louisville Central in the 1953 National Negro basketball tournament held in Nashville, TN, and the team took the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL) championship in 1954. Author Louis Stout credits Livisay as one of the first coaches to institute the "transition" game of basketball. The Douglass teams coached by Livisay had a record of 255 wins and 65 losses. His 1956 basketball team came in second in the KHSAL tournament and took second again in the National Negro basketball tournament. Following school integration, Livisay coached and taught at Bryan Station High School from 1966 until his retirement in 1974. Also while coaching basketball, in 1965, Livisay ran for the 54th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives; he lost to Foster Pettit. In 1979, he was appoint to the First District council seat in Lexington to complete the term of the late O. M. Travis. When the term ended, Livisay ran for the seat and was defeated by Edgar Wallace. Livisay also served as president of the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP. His tennis career coincided with his many other activities. Livisay was considered a star tennis player and participated in tournaments such as the one held in 1940 between African American tennis players from Louisville and Lexington. Team members were Albert "Happy" Ray, William Madden, Rice Stone, Leonard Mills, and Coach Ages Bryant. The matches took place in Lexington at Douglass Park. In 1975, Charles H. Livisay was inducted into the Kentucky State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the Dawahares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame. For more see "Tennis stars clash," Lexington Leader, 07/12/1940, p. 7, col. 4; 1993 KHSAA Hall of Fame [.pdf]; Shadows of the Past, by Louis Stout; and S. Brown, "Charles Livisay; civic leader, ex-coach, dies; Black leader was role model in community," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/01/1990, City/State section, p. C1.

 

Access InterviewRead about the Charles Livisay oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Civic Leaders, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Tennis, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Locke, Bernadette
In 1990 Bernadette Locke became the first woman and the first African American woman to be named an assistant coach in Division I Men's NCAA basketball; she was an assistant to Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky. Locke was also the first African American head coach of the Women's basketball team at the University of Kentucky, where she also coached women's basketball from 1995-2003. She is presently an assistant coach in the WNBA. For more see First Black women coaches Division One mens basketball, at The African American Registry website.


Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Lovett, Wilson Stephen
Birth Year : 1885
Wilson S. Lovett was president of the First Standard Bank in Louisville, KY, which was established in 1921 with $50,000. It was the first African American bank in Kentucky. In 1928 the bank had assets of over $600,000. Lovett was also a civil rights activist who was a member of the NAACP and a member of the committee that led to the African American voters' repeal of the first bond effort to expand the University of Louisville. Wilson Lovett was born in New York, the son of Wilson and Annie E. Stevens Lovett, and he grew up in Pennsylvania [sources: 1900 U.S. Federal Census and Ohio Marriages Index]. He was married to Dorothy Payne Lovett (1896-1927), who was born in Kingston, Jamaica; the couple was married in 1924 in Franklin, OH. Wilson Lovett had worked as a stenographer in Alabama, he was employed in the Savings Department of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) [sources: 1910 U.S. Federal Census and Negro Star, 01/27/1933]. Lovett founded the men's basketball team at Tuskegee Institute and was the first head coach from 1908-1909. The team was undefeated, winning all three of their games [see Golden Tigers website]. Wilson Lovett came to Kentucky from Memphis, TN [sources: Indianapolis Recorder, 04/02/1927]. In 1915, he was director of Standard Life Insurance Company in Louisville [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1915, p.900], which was prior to the establishment of the First Standard Bank. When he left the bank in 1929, Wilson Lovett became treasurer of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. During that same year, he served as secretary of the National Negro Bankers Association. In 1930, Wilson Lovett was president of the Standard Reality Corporation in Louisville [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory for 1930, p.1256], and president of the Credential Bond and Mortgage Company in Cleveland, OH [source: Cleveland (Ohio) City Directory, 1930, p.1056], all while living in Chicago, IL. According to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Wilson Lovett shared his home in Chicago with Henry McGasock, from Kentucky; they lived at 608 E. Fifty-first Street in Chicago. In the census, Lovett is listed as the treasurer of a life insurance company. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; "Two dead, another injured," Indianapolis Recorder, 04/02/1927, p.1; "Business," Negro Star, 08/02/1929, p.1; "Program of National Negro Bankers Association," Plaindealer, 08/02/1929, p.4; and "Boom Wilson Lovett for Register of the Treasury," Negro Star, 01/27/1933, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Basketball, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration North, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: New York / Pennsylvania / Tuskegee, Alabama / Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Cleveland, Ohio

Martin, Clarence B.
Birth Year : 1963
Death Year : 2005
Clarence B. Martin, a native of Alabama, played high school basketball at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, AL. In college, he played center for the Western Kentucky University (WKU) Hilltoppers basketball team from 1982 to 1987; he was redshirted for the 1983-1984 season because of an injury. Martin scored 888 points and had 684 rebounds while setting a school record for season and career blocked shots. He was the third round pick of the Utah Jazz in the 1987 NBA draft, but due to knee injuries, Martin opted to play professional ball in Japan. After eight years, Martin returned to work in Danville, KY, and at WKU, where he was a board member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. Martin and his family later moved to Atlanta, where he passed away in 2005. Clarence Martin is buried in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Clarence Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at WKU. For more see Clarence Martin at the Hilltopper Haven website; and A. Harvey, "Tribute album for WKU basketball great on sale," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 11/17/2005.

See photo image and additional information about Clarence B. Martin at the WKU Hilltopper Haven website.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Alexander City, Alabama / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Japan, Asia

Mason, Melvin T. "Mel"
Birth Year : 1943
Mason, a civil rights activist and an educator, was born and raised in Providence, KY. His family moved to Seaside, CA, where Mason was an outstanding basketball player at Monterey High School. He graduated in 1960 and would go on to play basketball at Monterey Peninsula (Junior) College [now Monterey Peninsula College, a community college], and left the school after his freshman year in 1961 to serve in the military. He was the youngest basketball player to be named All-Air Force. He led all branches of the military in scoring in Europe, and was named Air Force European Command Player of the Year in 1964. Problems that Mason considered racist in the military led to a Bad Conduct Discharge in 1965. With the help of U.S. Senator Thomas Kuchel from California, the discharge was overturned and changed to an Honorable Discharge. Mason returned to Monterey Peninsula College in 1966 and became the only All-America basketball player in the school's history and he is still the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Mason then received over 100 basketball scholarship offers from around the United States. He accepted a scholarship at Oregon State University, but lost his scholarship after taking a solitary stand against what he describes as "the racist treatment of Black students," thus ending his basketball career; he was banned from playing basketball at any college in the U.S. Mason earned his B.A. in social science at Golden Gate University, his M.A. in social work from San Jose State University, and a clinical social worker's license (LCSW) from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. When he was an employee at Western Electric in Sunnyvale, CA, he helped form the Black Workers Unity Caucus to fight job discrimination and sexual harassment. Based on his work with the caucus, Mason was offered and accepted the invitation to join the Black Panther Party in 1968. In 1970, he organized a Black United Farmworkers Union Support Committee, and the first anti-police brutality campaigns on the Monterey Peninsula. In 1976, Mason was unsuccessful in his run for Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Board. He ran for governor of California in 1982, when he was ruled off the ballot. He was a city council member of Seaside, CA, where his voting record was investigated by the FBI due to his membership in the Socialist Workers Party. Mason ran for President of the United States in 1984 as a candidate of the Socialist Workers Party; he received 24,681 votes. He was a plaintiff in a successful lawsuit against the FBI and their use of the Counterintelligence Program against the Black Panther Party and other groups. Mason lived in New York 1985-1987, where he was part of the Anti-Apartheid Coalition in 1986, and helped form the largest Anti-Apartheid demonstration in the history of the movement, with over 300,000 people. Mason returned to Seaside, CA, in 1987, and in the early 1990s he became co-founder of the Regional Alliance for Progress Policy, and served as spokesperson and chairperson. He has founded and led a number of civil rights organizations and served on a number of boards. He is internationally known and has been the guest of Grenada Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, Sinn Fein in Ireland, the Aborigines in Australia, and the Maori people in New Zealand. Mason retired in 2006 after 10 years at California State University, Monterey Bay, which marked the end of a 40 year career as an educator, counselor, and mental health practitioner and director. He is a former president of the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the NAACP and vice president of the California NAACP Conference. He is the author of Mel Mason: the making of a revolutionary. Mason has also received many awards including his induction into the Monterey Peninsula College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2007, Mason received the Civil Rights Legacy Award from the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the NAACP. March of 2011, Mason was inducted into the California Community College Athletic Hall of Fame [the same hall of fame that Jackie Robinson was inducted into for his athletic accomplishments at Pasadena City College]. Mel Mason is currently an appointee to the Access to Excellence Committee with the California State University System. The program is designed to increase the admission of minority students to CSU campuses. For more see S. Purewal, "A Revolutionary life," The Monterey County Herald, 07/03/2006, Top Story section, p. A1; The Trial of Leonard Peltier, by J. Messerschmidt and W. M. Kunstler; D. Coffin, "Lobos Legacy," The Monterey County Herald, 09/28/2010, p.D1; J. Devine, "Mel Mason named to JC Hall of Fame," The Monterey County Herald, 01/31/2011, p.B1; D. Taylor, "A Lifelong battle for equality," The Monterey County Herald, 03/20/2011, p.A1; and see Mel Mason, Monterey Peninsula, induction 2011, a CCCAA website. Additional information was provided by Melvin T. Mason, contact him for a copy of his biography.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Geographic Region: Providence, Webster County, Kentucky / Seaside, California

McDaniels, James R. "Jim"
Birth Year : 1948
Jim McDaniels was born in Scottsville, KY. He played his college ball at Western Kentucky University (WKU), in 1971 helping to lead the school to its only Final Four appearance. The 7 foot tall McDaniels is the school's leading scorer (27.6 points per game). It was discovered that he had signed with an agent his senior year, so WKU had to forfeit its third place finish in the 1971 tournament. McDaniels was finally inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. He played ABA ball with the Carolina Cougars and was a reserve player for the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA. McDaniels ended his NBA career with the Buffalo Braves [now the Los Angeles Clippers] in 1978. For more see Basketball biographies: 434 U.S. players, coaches and contributors to the game, 1891-1990, by M. Taragano, and Jim McDaniel , in BasketballReference.com.

See 2010 photo image of Jim McDaniels with Courtney Lee at WKU website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Scottsville, Allen County, Kentucky

Mitchell, Lucias T.
Birth Year : 1935
Death Year : 2010
Coach Lucias T. Mitchell was the all-time winningest basketball coach in the history of Kentucky State University (K-State). In his first year as coach at K-State, the 1968-69 season, the team finished with a 10-15 record. The next three seasons the K-State men's basketball team won three consecutive NAIA National Basketball Championships. K-State became the second school to ever win three NAIA championships in a row [Tennessee State won three with Coach John McLendon, a former K-State mentor]. Elmore Smith and Travis Grant, who played for Mitchell, were both first round NBA draft choices, Smith in 1971 and Grant in 1972. Coach Mitchell was chosen as National Coach of the Year in 1970 and 1971. He was the first African American coach elected as a officer to the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Coach Mitchell is presently the 6th winningest coach in the NCAA Division II with 325 wins and 103 losses over a 15 year period while coaching at Alabama State, Kentucky State, and Norfolk State. The basketball floor in the William Exum Physical Education Building at K-State was named in his honor in 2008. Coach Lucias Mitchell was a 1956 graduate of Jackson State, where he played on the basketball team coached by Harrison B. Wilson, who would later become president of Norfolk State. For more see the Lucias Mitchell entry at The Stat Sheet Network [online]; B. Molinaro, "Ex-NSU coach will be honored for his success at Ky State," The Virginian-Pilot, 10/02/2008, Sports section, p. C1; and the Lucias Mitchell interview at Kentucky Educational Television's (KET) Basketball in Kentucky. This entry was submitted by Lacy L. Rice, Jr.

See photo image and obituary notice of Lucias T. Mitchell at chron.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Murphy, Donna L.
Birth Year : 1958
Born in Kansas, Donna L. Murphy grew up in Newport, KY. She was the 1974 Class 2A state high jump champion and played forward for the Newport women's basketball team. In her first Girls Sweet Sixteen Tournament, in 1975, she scored 42 points and had 25 rebounds in the first game. In 1976, the 5'10" forward was the first to be named Miss Kentucky Basketball. She was one of two high school students invited to tryout for the 1976 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team. Murphy played college ball at Morehead State University (KY) from 1977-1980, scoring 2,059 points and collecting 1,439 rebounds. In 1995 she was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame; in 1999 she was the first woman to have her jersey retired at Morehead State University. Murphy played professional ball with the St. Louis Streak and later became head coach at a number of colleges. She was the women's basketball coach at Lexington Christian Academy (KY), 2004-2006. For more see 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Records Book; M. Story, "Forward Helped Girls' Basketball Return with Bang," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/25/99, Special section, p. 13; and the 2010 interview "Donna LJ Murphy," program #536 [available online] on Connections With Renee Shaw at Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

See photo image and additional information about Donna L. Murphy in "Friends of 44 are friends indeed" at the "What's Up With Merlene?" blog, 06/08/2009.
Subjects: Basketball, Women's Groups and Organizations, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Kansas / Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky

Payne, Thomas R., Jr. "Tom"
Birth Year : 1951
Born in Louisville, KY, Thomas R. Payne, Jr. was the first African American recruited and signed to play basketball at the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1969. Payne, a 7'2" center, had played for Shawnee High School in Louisville. UK had tried to recruit 15 African American players, but Payne was the first to accept the offer. He averaged 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds during the 1970-1971 season, then went pro, signing with the Atlanta Hawks. In 1972 he was convicted of rape in Georgia and Kentucky and spent the next 11 years in prison. He tried to return to basketball but was again convicted of rape in California in 1986. For more see J. R. McGill, "Kentucky a Leader in Integrating SEC Sports," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/31/90, Sports section, p. D14; and M. Story, "Prison Awaits Payne in Kentucky," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/02/2000, Sports section, p. C1.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Reed, William B. "Chief"
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1996
William B. Reed was born in Paris, KY. He was the last principal of the segregated Western School for Negroes. The Paris City Schools were fully integrated in 1966 and Reed would become the first African American Assistant Principal in the Paris City School system. He was also the first to become a city commissioner in Paris. He had been a star football and basketball player at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and he coached the Western High basketball team to a national championship in 1953. Reed was also the school's football coach. He was the first African American elected to the Paris City Council in 1977. The William "Chief" Reed Park in Paris is named in his honor. For more see "William Reed, Retired Educator, Coach, Dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries, 10/11/96; and "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 22. 
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Roach, Sanford Thomas
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2010
Born in Frankfort, KY, Sanford T. Roach played basketball and football as a student and was also the 1933 high school class salutatorian when he graduated from Bate High School in Danville, KY. Roach was a 1937 graduate of Kentucky State University and taught for one year and served as a guard at Kentucky Village with the Kentucky Houses of Reform, schools for delinquent children. He started teaching general science at Bate High School in 1938 and was also the basketball coach; he achieved a record of 98-24 while coaching at Bate High School. In 1941, Roach became a teacher and basketball coach at Lexington Dunbar High School, he coached the Dunbar Bearcats to a 512-142 record over a 22 year period. He later became the first African American principal at an integrated elementary school in Lexington, KY, at Carver School in 1965, and was the first African American board member of the University of Kentucky Athletic Association. For more see Transition Game, by B. Reed; Sanford Roach Biography, a HistoryMaker website; and "Legacy knows no bounds," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/01/2010, pp. 1, A2, and A8 [two articles - M. Fields, M. Davis].

Access Interview Read about the Sanford T. Roach oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.

 

  Watch the Sanford T. Roach interview online on "Connections with Renee Shaw," program #219, at the KET (Kentucky Educational Television) website.

 

Access Interview Listen to the audio and read the transcript of the Sanford T. Roach interview in the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, Oral History Project, at the Kentucky Historical Society.
Subjects: Baseball, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Shadows of the Past by Louis Stout
Start Year : 2006
This 2006 publication by Louis Stout is the first of its kind, an historical overview of the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL) that covers the administrators, schools, coaches, and athletes that participated in the development of the association. KHSAL was formed in 1932 as an interscholastic athletics organization for the Negro schools of Kentucky. There were 69 member schools, and KHSAL remained active until 1958 when Kentucky schools and athletic associations began to desegregate. Basketball and football were recognized by KHSAL, though many of the schools had other sporting events such as boxing and track and field. Fifty-two schools are highlighted in the book, with photographs and a brief history of the schools, teams, and coaches. A fair portion of the history and the photographs deal with the basketball teams.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Boxers, Boxing, Football, Track & Field, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Shanks, Irvine Lee
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2004
Born in Kenton County, KY, Shanks was the first African American to play basketball at Berea College, during the 1954-1955 seasons. A 6 foot 5 inch center, he was the only African American on the team. No opposing team ever canceled a game due to his presence. In 1955, he helped Berea College win the Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. He was married and had two children when he became a student athlete at Berea. Shanks had been a sergeant in the U.S. Army and fought in the Korean War. He is buried in the Madison County Memorial Gardens, according to the U.S. Veterans Gravesites information. For more see "B" For Berea: The Amazing Story of Berea College Basketball in the Words of the Men Who Played It, by T. Chase; Berea College Magazine, Spring 2002; and "Irvine Shanks, sports pioneer - war veteran broke basketball color barrier in Kentucky," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/09/2004, City & Region section, p. B4.
Subjects: Basketball, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Kenton County, Kentucky / Richmond and Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Shelby, John T., Jr. "T-Bone"
Birth Year : 1958
Born in Lexington, KY, Shelby was an outstanding basketball and baseball player at Lexington's Henry Clay High School. He continued his career as a student at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN. His professional career began in 1981 when he was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles. Shelby played for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1987-1990 and ended his playing career in 1991 with the Detroit Tigers. He was a member of two World Series teams: the 1983 Orioles and the 1988 Dodgers. In 1998, Shelby was named to the coaching staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers and was the first base coach for all but the first two years of his coaching career there. In 2005, he was named first base coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Shelby and his family reside in Lexington. His oldest son, John T. Shelby, III, played baseball at the University of Kentucky and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2006. For more see "Smithtown's slugger - neighborhood celebrates L.A. Dodgers' John Shelby," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/08/1999; and John Shelby 31, a Pittsburgh Pirates' website.

 
Subjects: Baseball, Basketball, Migration West
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Columbia, Tennessee / Baltimore, Maryland / Los Angeles, California / Detroit, Michigan / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Chicago, Illinois

Smith, Dwight
Birth Year : 1946
Death Year : 1967
Dwight Smith was born in Princeton, KY. He played high school basketball at Dotson High School in Princeton and was also valedictorian of his graduating class. Smith, a 6'4" guard, and Clem Haskins were the first two African American basketball players at Western Kentucky University (WKU), Smith playing for the Hilltoppers from 1965-1967. He helped lead the team to three post-season tournaments and was the nation's top rebounding guard his sophomore (11.3) and senior (11.9) years. Smith was the sixth all-time leading scorer at WKU with 1,142 points. He was the first college graduate in his family. Smith was drafted in the second round of the 1967 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. May of 1967 produced a rainy Mother's Day weekend; Greg Smith was driving his brother Dwight and their sister Kay back to WKU after a visit home. They were on an unfamiliar route, and after taking a blind curve the car hydroplaned and flipped over into a water-filled ditch. Dwight and Kay drowned before help arrived. Dwight Smith was inducted into the WKU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995. For more see Dwight Smith at the 1995 WKU Athletics Hall of Fame website.

See photo images and additional information at "Hilltopper Legends.... Dwight Smith" a Western Kentucky University website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Smith, Elmore "The Big E"
Birth Year : 1949
Elmore Smith was born in Macon, GA, and was a graduate of Ballard-Hudson High School, where he also played basketball. As a college player, he was the seven foot center for the Kentucky State University (K-State) men's basketball team. Elmore Smith is listed among the top rebounders in college basketball. He was a member of the 1970 and 1971 NAIA Championship teams at K-State, coached by Lucias Mitchell. He holds the NAIA record for most rebounds in a season (799 rebounds in 1971), and tops the NCAA All-Division list. He left for the NBA his senior year in 1971 and played professional basketball until 1979. He went to the Buffalo Braves [now Los Angeles Clippers] as the 3rd pick in the first round of the 1971 NBA Draft. In his first season, Smith averaged 17.3 points per game and 15.2 rebounds per game; he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. Smith's rebounding record is 8th among NBA rookies. He holds the NBA record for most individual blocked shots in a game (17). Elmore Smith ended his basketball career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2008, he was inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame. After his basketball career, Smith went into the Barb-Q sauce business. For more see Elmore Smith in Basketball-Reference.com; and Elmore Smith in Basketball Biographies by M. Taragano. This entry was submitted by Lacy L. Rice Jr.

  See photo image of Elmore Smith at Cavshistory.com
Subjects: Basketball, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs
Geographic Region: Macon, Georgia / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Smith, Garfield
Birth Year : 1945
Garfield Smith was born in Campbellsville, KY. He was a 6'9" center on the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) basketball team, 1964-1968. Smith played in 67 games and was the school's 3rd all-time leading rebounder. He was one of the first three African American basketball players at the school. (The other two were Bobby Washington and Toke Coleman.) Smith was selected by the Boston Celtics in round 3 of the 1968 NBA draft. He played with the Celtics for two years, then played for one year with the San Diego Conquistadors, an ABA team. Smith played in a total of 134 games and scored 428 points during his three seasons. In 2012, Garfield Smith was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Fame [more info.].  For more see Garfield Smith at the databaseBasketball.com website.

See photo images of Garfield Smith (the bottom of page) at nasljersys.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky

Smith, Gregory D.
Birth Year : 1947
Smith was born in Princeton, KY. A 6'5" forward, he was a star high school basketball player at Dotson High School in Princeton. In 1996 Smith was inducted into the Dawahares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He played college ball at Western Kentucky University (WKU) from 1965 to 1968. Smith was the sixth all-time leading rebounder for the school, pulling down 11.6 rebounds per game; he had five games with more than 20 rebounds. In 1998, Smith was inducted into the WKU Athletics Hall of Fame. He was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 4th round of the 1968 NBA draft and was a member of the Bucks' 1971 NBA Championship team. Smith ended his pro basketball career in 1976 with the Portland Trail Blazers. Over the eight years of his pro career, Smith played in 524 games, had 3,249 rebounds and scored 4,097 points. Greg was the brother of Dwight Smith. For more see Greg Smith at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Portland, Oregon

Smith, Orlando "Tubby"
Birth Year : 1951
Tubby Smith was born in Scotland, Maryland. In 1997 he became the first African American basketball coach at the University of Kentucky; in 1998 the team won the NCAA Basketball Championship. He left the University of Kentucky in 2007 for the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota. Smith has led three schools to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen: the University of Tulsa, the University of Georgia and the University of Kentucky. His ten years at the University of Kentucky ended with a record of 263 wins and 83 losses; four NCAA Elite Eights; five SEC tournament titles; five SEC regular season titles; 2003 AP Coach of the Year; and 10 selections to the annual NCAA. For more see J. Tipton, "Tubby bolts from the Blue - feels wanted in new post but says he loves Kentucky," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/23/2007, Main News section, p.A1.

See photo image of Tubby Smith at rivals.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Scotland, Maryland / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Minnesota

Smith, Sam
Birth Year : 1944
Sam Smith was born in Hazard, KY. A 6'7" guard/forward, he played high school basketball in Hazard and in 1962 became one of the first three African American basketball players recruited by the University of Louisville (U of L). (The other two players were Eddie Whitehead and Wade Houston.) Freshmen were not eligible to play on the varsity team, so the three had to wait until their sophomore year to get playing time. Of the three, Smith was the first to play in a game and the first African American starter in 1964. Academic problems for Smith at U of L led him to transfer to Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) in 1964. In 1966, the KWC basketball team won its first College Division National Championship [now the NCAA Division II Championship]. Smith played in the ABA from 1968-1971 with the Minnesota Muskies, Kentucky Colonels, and Utah Stars, playing in 255 games and scoring 2,097 points. Smith was a member of the Utah Stars 1971 ABA Championship team that defeated the Kentucky Colonels. He was picked by the Atlanta Hawks in the 3rd round of the NBA draft in 1977. Smith played for two seasons in the NBA, first with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1978-1979 season, then with the Chicago Bulls for the 1979-1980 season. During those two years, he saw action in 46 games and scored 315 points. For more see the Commerce Cabinet Press release by Billy Reed dated 02/21/05, "Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch Represents Pinnacle of Proud African-American Athletic Tradition at U of L: Cards a Leader in Integrating Southern Sports"; Sam Smith at databaseBasketball.com; and Sam Smith at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Hazard, Perry County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Minneapolis, Minnesota / Salt Lake City, Utah / Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Chicago, Illinois

Spencer, Felton L.
Birth Year : 1968
Spencer was born in Louisville, KY. The 7'1" center played high school ball at Louisville Eastern; during his junior and senior years, he led the school to its first state tournaments in 25 years. He averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocked shots and was rated one of the top 25 players in the nation. Spencer played college ball at the University of Louisville, the tallest player ever to play for the school, and he was the all-time field goal percentage leader. He was the 6th pick in the first round of the 1990 NBA Draft, going to the Minnesota Timbewolves for three seasons before being traded to the Utah Jazz. Spencer played for a few other teams during his 12 year career in the NBA; he retired in 2002. He played in 640 games, scored over 3,000 points, and blocked over 500 shots. For more see Felton LaFrance Spencer at basketball-reference.com; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006.

See photo image of Felton L. Spencer at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Still, Valerie
Birth Year : 1961
Born the ninth of ten children, Valerie Still, the 6' 1" forward was the leading scorer and rebounder in the history of the University of Kentucky basketball with 2,763 points and 1,525 rebounds; she was second in the nation in both categories. Her jersey (no. 12) was retired in Memorial Coliseum in January 2003. She played professional basketball in Italy for 12 years and also acted and had a television show there. She was a WNBA player with the Washington Mystics. Still was born in Camden, NJ. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 11th -15th ed., and Who's Who of American Women, 21st ed.

See photo image of Valerie Still at UK Athletics Blog, Cat Scratches.
Subjects: Basketball, Television, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Camden, New Jersey / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Italy, Europe

Stone, George E.
Birth Year : 1946
Stone was born in Murray, KY. A 6'7" forward, he played basketball at William Grant High School in Covington, KY. He was an outstanding player who earned a scholarship in 1964 to Marshall University in Huntington, WV. In 1967 the Marshall team defeated Nebraska in the second round of the NIT; George Stone scored 46 points, a record for most individual points in an NIT game in Madison Square Garden. He was the school's 9th all-time leading rebounder. In 1999, Stone was inducted into the Marshall University Athletics Hall of Fame and named to the 1st team of the All-Century Marshall University Basketball Team. Stone's professional basketball career began in 1968 with the Los Angeles Stars, an ABA team, for whom he played in 74 games, leading the team in scoring for the season with 1,328 points. His playing career ended in 1972 with the Utah Stars, also an ABA team. In total, Stone played in 259 games and scored 3,530 points in the ABA. For more see "Here is the Daily Mail's list of Marshall University's 10 biggest," Charleston Daily Mail, 07/08/1999; "Cleaning the boards," Charleston Daily Mail, 01/17/2000; and George Stone in Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky

Stout, Louis
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2012
Louis Stout was born in Cynthiana, KY and was a graduate of Cynthiana High School. He played basketball under Joe B. Hall at Regis College [now Regis University] in Denver, CO. In 1994 he became the first African American to serve as the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner, making him the first African American in the nation to head a state athletic association. He had been with the association since 1971 and retired in 2002. Prior to that he was a basketball coach at the old Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY (1965-1967), and after school integration, he became head basketball coach at Tates Creek High School in Lexington. Stout is the author of Shadows of the Past. In 2011, he was named president of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). He was honored with inductions into the National Federation of High Schools' Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, the AAU Hall of Fame, and the AAU Softball Umpire Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame, an organization where he had championed the induction of many, many athletes. Louis Stout was the son of Elizabeth Wilson Ford and John Stout, Sr. He was the brother of Fielding "Toke" Coleman. For more see Louis Stout in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky; and M. Fields, "Former KHSAA commissioner Louis Stout dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/09/2012.

  See photo image of Louis Stout at KET Basketball Gallery.

Access Interview Read about the Louis Stout oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Authors, Basketball
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Sykes, Harry N.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2012
Born in Starkville, MS, in 1963 Harry N. Sykes became the first African American elected to the City of Lexington, KY, Council; he also served as mayor pro-tem, 1967-1969. Sykes ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Lexington in 1971. He founded the Lexington Fayette County Urban League in 1968, serving as president from 1968-1972. Sykes was also a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, 1952-1954. For more see Harry Sykes, Lexington Herald Leader, 08/02/03, Final Ed., p. B1.


  See photo image of Harry Sykes and additional information at The HistoryMakers website.

Access Interview Read about the Harry N. Sykes oral history interviews available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.


Subjects: Basketball, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Starkville, Mississippi / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Texas Western College Basketball Team
Start Year : 1966
On March 19, 1966, Texas Western College [now the University of Texas at El Paso] defeated the University of Kentucky in the NCAA Basketball Championship game played at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House. It was the first time that a team with five starting African American players defeated a team with five white starting players. The UK team was coached by Adolph Rupp (1901-1977) and the Texas Western team was coached by Don Haskins (1930-2008). For more see And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Kentucky, Texas Western, and the Game that Changed American Sports, by F. Fitzpatrick; Adolph Rupp by R. Rice; and Glory Road (book) by D. Haskins and D. Wetzel; and Glory Road (DVD), by J. Lucas, et al.

  See photo image of the 1966 Texas Western College basketball team champions at the RIP Don Haskins artlcle by Dan Wetzel on the east coast bias website. 
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Thacker, Tom Porter
Birth Year : 1939
Born in Covington, KY, Tom P. Thacker played basketball at William Grant High School there from 1955 to 1959. The 6'2" guard/forward scored 36 points in his final game, a loss to Olive Hill during the state high school tournament. Thacker played college ball at the University of Cincinnati (UC); the team won the 1968 NCAA basketball championship against Ohio State University, Thacker scoring 21 points. The following year UC lost by two points in overtime in the championship game to Loyola of Chicago. Thacker was chosen by the Cincinnati Royals in the first round of the 1963 NBA draft. He was picked up by the Boston Celtics in 1968, the year the Celtics won the NBA Championship. At the end of the season, Thacker was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks but opted to play with the Indiana Pacers, then an ABA team, instead. Thacker retired from playing professional basketball in 1971, having played in 314 games in which he scored 1,020 points. Thacker was the first head coach of the Pittsburgh Xplosion, a Continental Basketball Association team. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; Many tried, few defeated William Grant in '50s, '60s, The Cincinnati Post, 02/23/1998, Editorial section, p. 4K; and Tom Thacker at the Basketball-Reference.com website.

See photo image and stats of Tom P. Thacker at The Draft Review website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Thomas, Newton Stone
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2004
Newton S. Thomas was born in Georgetown, KY. In 1920, his parents were divorced and Fanny Thomas was head of the household of six, according to the U.S. Federal Census. They lived on East Washington St. Newton Thomas graduated from Kentucky Normal and Industrial [now Kentucky State University]. A teacher at the Horse Cave (KY) Colored School (which had four rooms and more than 100 students), he became principal of the school in 1936. Thomas also coached the basketball team of nine players. They had no gym but won 65 games per season in 1944 and 1945, claiming the Negro League State Championship both years. In 1957, Newton Thomas was the first African American to teach at an integrated school in Kentucky, Caverna Independent High School in Horse Cave. For more see J. Mcalister, "Newton Thomas, coach of 2 basketball champions, dies at 92," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/03/04, City&Region section, p.B4; and Shadows of the Past: a history of the Kentucky High School Athletic League, by L. Stout.

Access Interview Read the transcript and listen to the audio of the Newton S. Thomas interview in the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project at the Kentucky Historical Society.

Access Interview Read about the Newton S. Thomas oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky

Thornton, Dallas
Birth Year : 1946
Dallas Thornton was born in Louisville, KY. A 6'4" guard, he attended Male High School in Louisville and played college basketball at Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC), the team winning the 1966 and the 1968 NCAA College Division Championships [now NCAA Division II], the first two of eight championships for KWC. Thornton was selected by the Baltimore Bullets (NBA) and the Miami Floridians (ABA) in the 1968 draft; he went with the Miami Floridians because they paid more money. The Miami Floridians had been the Minnesota Muskies prior to moving to Florida in 1968. Thornton played pro basketball for two years, scoring 297 points in 45 games. He left the ABA and played with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1970-1983. For more see Dallas Thornton in databaseBasketball.com; and R. Suwanski, "Thornton, others had successful sports careers," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 09/21/2004, S section, p.29. See pictures of Thornton as a Globetrotter in The Harlem Globetrotters: fifty years of fun and games, by C. Menville.

See photo image and stats for Dallas Thornton at the American Basketball Association Players website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Miami, Florida

Thruston, Felix
Birth Year : 1949
Born in Owensboro, KY, Felix Thruston was the 10th all-time leading scorer for the Owensboro High School basketball team, scoring 1,421 points from 1965-1967. He was coached by Bobby Watson. He went on to play college ball at Trinity University in Texas, where he was the third all-time leading scorer and rebounder for a season with 591 points and 268 rebounds. He came within two points of breaking the school record for single game individual points, scoring 45 points in the game against the Mexican Olympic team in 1970. Off the court, Thruston was active in the struggle for racial equality at Trinity University, speaking out in the newspapers concerning racism at the school; he was instrumental in presenting four proposals on the issue to the school administration. He was selected in the 8th round of the 1971 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He is the brother of Jerry Thruston. In 2011, Felix Thruston was inducted into the Trinity University Hall of Fame. For more see the Owensboro High School yearbook, the Owensboroan, available at the Daviess County Public Library; Mirage, the Trinity University yearbook; and Trinitonian, the Trinity University newspaper, especially the issues dated 12/04/1970, 03/05/1971, & 04/16/1971, at the Trinity University Library. See also "Felix Thruston" in Trinity Announces 2011 Hall of Fame Class at the Trinity website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky /San Antonio, Texas / Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Thruston, Jerry
Birth Year : 1954
Thruston was born in Owensboro, KY. The 6'7" center was the 1972 Kentucky Mr. Basketball. Thruston played for the Owensboro High School basketball team, 1970-1972. He is 12th on the school's 1000 point club with 1,376 points. The Owensboro Red Devils basketball team won the 1972 state championship, and Thruston was named Most Valuable Player. He played college ball at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, 1974-1977. Thruston scored 1,099 points during his college career, making him the 22nd all-time scorer for the school. He was also the leading rebounder in 1974 and 1976. He is the brother of Felix Thruston. For more see Mercer University Bears Record (pdf), 1937-2004; and "Thruston gives youngsters 'learning experience'," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 07/20/1994, p.1B.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Macon, Georgia

Tinsley, George W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1946
George W. Tinsley, Sr. was born in Louisville, KY. The 6'5" forward played high school ball at Male High School in Louisville and his college ball from 1965-1969 at Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC), where he was a member of the championship teams in 1966, 1968, and 1969. Tinsley was the 4th all-time leading scorer for KWC with 2,014 points as well as the all-time leading rebounder with 1,115 rebounds. The Kentucky Colonels, an ABA team, drafted Tinsley in 1969. He played for the ABA's Miami Floridians during the 1970-1971 season. Overall, he played in 133 games and scored 120 points. In 1976, Tinsley began his business career with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and became the owner of five restaurants. He was the founder and president of the KFC Minority Franchise Association. He has been the owner of several other successful businesses and has received a number of business awards and recognition. In 1991, Tinsley was appointed to the KWC Board of Trustees. In 2005, George Tinsley was inducted into the Kentucky Wesleyan College Alumni Hall of Fame. He is the husband of Seretha S. Tinsley. For more see M. Story, "Panthers' tradition transcends individuals," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/17/1991, Special section, p.16; George Tinsley at databaseBasketball.com; and the George William Tinsley, Sr. website.


Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Miami, Florida

Turpin, Melvin Harrison
Birth Year : 1960
Death Year : 2010
Born in Lexington, KY, the 6'11" center, a high school All-State basketball player, was a star at Bryan Station High School in Lexington, from which he graduated in 1979. Turpin attended Fort Union Military Academy in Virginia for one year before enrolling at the University of Kentucky (UK). As a basketball player at UK, Turpin was 3rd Team All-SEC his sophomore year, and over the next two years he received additional recognition, including being named 1st Team All-SEC, All Regional NCAA, and All-American. Turpin played in 123 games, scoring a total of 1,509 points and blocking 226 shots. He had a game high 42 points against both Tennessee in 1983 and Georgia in 1984. As of 2007, Turpin is the last basketball player from Lexington to play for four years on a scholarship at UK. He was drafted sixth by the Washington Bullets [now the Washington Wizards] in the first round of the 1984 NBA draft. He played 361 games for three different NBA teams, scoring a total of 3,071 points and blocking 348 shots. Turpin retired from the NBA in 1990. For more see Melvin Turpin, a Big Blue History website; Mel Turpin at databaseBasketball.com; M. Story, "No Cats like those Cats - city no longer producing UK players, but why? A story for every county," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/29/2007, Sports section, p. D2; and K. Ward and J. Kegley, "Turpin mourners remember him at his happiest," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/13/2010, Main News section, p.A1.

See photo image of Melvin Turpin and his mother in Explore UK.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

University of Louisville Basketball Team
Start Year : 1979
End Year : 1980
According to Billy Reed, former Executive Director for Communications at the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the 1979-1980 University of Louisville (U of L) men's basketball team was the first team to win a national basketball championship with an all-African American starting lineup since Texas Western defeated the University of Kentucky in 1966. The U of L starters were Darrell Griffith, Rodney McCray, Derek Smith, Wiley Brown, and Jerry Eaves. For more see the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet [renamed June 2008 to Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet] Press release dated 02/21/05, "Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch Represents Pinnacle of Proud African-American Athletic Tradition at U of L: Cards a Leader in Integrating Southern Sports."
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Unseld, Westley S. "Wes"
Birth Year : 1946
Wes Unseld was born in Louisville, KY, and attended Seneca High School, where he played on the basketball team that won two state tournaments. Unseld was also the 6' 7" center for the University of Louisville basketball team, for which he was a three year letter winner, two time All American, and three time All Conference player. He scored 1,686 points, had 1,551 rebounds and led the conference in rebounds for three years. He played 13 years in the NBA with the Baltimore Bullets [later the Washington Bullets, now the Washington Wizards] and retired as the NBA's 7th all time leading rebounder. From 1987-1994, Unseld was the head coach of the Washington Bullets, the second African American from Kentucky to become an NBA head coach [Bernie Bickerstaff was first and Dwane Casey was third]. In 1988, Wes Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1977-2008; Basketball Biographies. 434 U.S. players, coaches and contributors to the game, 1891-1990, by M. Taragano; and "The 2004 Racial and gender report card: National Basketball Association" 05/02/2005, by Richard Lapchick [available online .pdf].

See photo image and video of Wes Unseld, and additional information by Chimsima Zuhri at the "Today in African American History" website.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Baltimore, Maryland / Washington, D.C.

Walker, Solly
Solly Walker was a sophomore guard who played for St. John's University, when, on December 17, 1951, he became the first African American to play in an integrated college basketball game in the state of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky (UK) defeated St. John's. Walker began the game by hitting six of his first seven shots and had only played a few minutes when he received a blow that put him on the sidelines for the next three weeks. In a subsequent tournament game, St. John's defeated UK in the NCAA East Regional. St. John's continued to win until they were defeated in the final game by the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Solly Walker was the first African American to play basketball at St. John's University, and upon graduation was drafted by the New York Knicks. Walker declined the NBA offer and became one of the first African American high school principals in New York. For more see Raw Recruits, by A. Wolff; and St. Johns [sic] at Kentucky. A picture of Walker playing in the December game against Kentucky is on p.111 of the 1952 Kentuckian Yearbook [available online].



Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York City, New York

Warford, Reggie
Birth Year : 1954
Born in Drakesboro, KY, Reggie Warford became the first African American basketball player to graduate from the University of Kentucky. He was a 6'1" guard who played in 50 games from 1972 to 1976, scoring 206 total points by the end of his college career. Warford went on to become an assistant coach at Pitt, Iowa State and Long Beach State, and also was head coach of the Harlem Globetrotters in 2003. While at Pitt in 1986, Warford sued the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, claiming that it had defamed him in an article about improper recruiting offers in college basketball, specifically in reference to Steve Miller, a forward from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, KY. An article published October 28, 1985, quoted Miller as saying that Warford told him he would get a raise if he signed Miller and that Miller "would benefit from that raise also." The law suit was settled out of court in 1991. For more see articles related to the case in the Lexington Herald-Leader, from 1986-1991.

See photo image of Reggie Warford at bigbluehistory.net.
Subjects: Basketball, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Ames, Iowa / Long Beach, California

Washington, Bobby
Birth Year : 1947
Washington was born in in Lexington, KY. A 5'11" guard, he attended old Dunbar High School in Lexington, where he was an all-state basketball player. He played his college ball at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) from 1966-1969, one of the first three African American players at the school; the other two were Garfield Smith and Toke Coleman. Washington scored a total of 1,221 points during his college career. He was drafted in 1970 by the Kentucky Colonels, an American Basketball Association (ABA) team, and was then picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers, for whom he played for two years. Washington played in 118 games and scored 700 points during the three years of his professional career. He returned to Kentucky and coached the Bryan Station High School basketball team for 17 years; his teams won more than 300 games and six district titles. For more see Bobby Washington at databaseBasketball.com; and M. Fields, "Dunbar days still the best for Washington - '63 finals special to KHSAA Hall inductee," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/15/2005.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

Wells, Jerry Lee
Birth Year : 1944
Born in Glasgow, KY, Wells played high school basketball at Ralph Bunche High School there. He was recruited along with teammate Charles Hunter to play college ball at Oklahoma City University, where Wells was an All-American. His scoring ability helped take the team to the NCAA Tournament four consecutive years. Wells and Hunter were the first two African American basketball players at the school. Wells was selected by the Cincinnati Royals in the second round of the 1966 NBA draft, but his season was cut short when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Wells was inducted into the Oklahoma City University Hall of Fame. For more see N. Haney, "Spirit of '66 alive and well; Glory Road' brings back memories for local duo, "Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 01/16/2006.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma / Cincinnati, Ohio

Whitney, Davey L.
Birth Year : 1930
Davey L. Whitney was born in Midway, KY. As a student at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], he earned more letters as an athlete than any other student has: in basketball, baseball, football, and track. He played baseball in the Negro League. He was head coach for more than 26 years at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. In 2002, he set a career victory record as a head basketball coach (551-338) and as the head coach at Alcorn State (496-275). He was ranked among the top six active coaches and was the first to receive the NCAA Hall of Champions Journey Award. The Davey L. Whitney Complex at Alcorn State was named in his honor in 1975. Davey Whitney retired in 2003 and was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. For more see W. Barnhouse, "Dave Whitney, master of perseverance," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 02/19/2003; and R. D. Russo, "A full life, on and off the court," Black Issues in Higher Education, 4/27/2000, vol.17, issue 5, p.37.

See photo image of Davey L. Whitney at the Road Runner website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Alcorn State, Mississippi

Williams, Burnett, Jr.
Birth Year : 1932
Death Year : 1997
Williams was born in Cynthiana, KY. He was a 6'4" center-forward on the Banneker High School basketball team in Cynthiana. The team finished third in the 1951 Bluegrass Tournament. He continued his basketball career and education at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], graduating in 1955. Williams was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and was employed by the Cincinnati Police Department in Ohio; in 1988, he became one of the first few African Americans to earn the rank of Captain with the department; his promotion came one year after A. W. Harmon, Sr. was named the second African American captain. Burnett Williams was a 35-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department, retiring in 1993. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; and "Burnett Williams, police captain," The Cincinnati Post, 11/21/1997, News section, p.17A.
Subjects: Basketball, Corrections and Police, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Williams, Wallace D.
Birth Year : 1946
Wallace Williams is a retired Territorial Librarian and was director of the Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Williams is also a runner, an Olympic marathon runner. He was born in Campbellsville, KY, and in 1950 was the first African American to attend a white school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School. He was among the first African Americans to graduate from Campbellsville High School in 1964. He had started running track and cross-country as a senior in high school. While a student at Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University], he was the only African American on the cross-country team and the freshman basketball team. Williams left school and joined the the U.S. Air Force. While at Reese Air Force Base, Williams was the leading scorer on the base and squadron basketball teams and was also a coach. He received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force and went on to earn a B.A. in liberal arts at Northwestern Illinois University. He was the school's leading scorer in basketball during the 1973-74 season, and was winner of the Golden Eagle Award. He was also a member of the Evanston Running Club at Northwestern University. In 1975, Williams earned a masters in library science at Rosary College [now Dominican University]. He was the school's first athletic coordinator in 1974. He was the first student delegate to attend the International Federation of Library Associations Conference (IFLA). In 1977, Williams began his 30 year career as a librarian in St. Croix, and during his career, he taught library skills at the University of the Virgin Islands, and he taught coping skills in the Adult Education Program with the Department of Education. He was secretary of the Rotary Club of St. Croix, was president of the St. Croix Library Association, and was co-president of the Virgin Islands Library Association. Williams was a newspaper columnist, and trained for marathons and established running organizations. In 1978 he founded the Virgin Islands Pace Runners and organized road races. He was founder of the Society of Olympic Marathon Runners, was a founding member of the Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation, and started Women Race for the Women's Coalition. In 1979, Williams ran in the marathon of the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1982, he was the first participant for the Virgin Islands to run in the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Havana, Cuba. He was also a delegate of the International Association of Athletic Federations Congress for several years, beginning in 1982. Williams competed in the World Cross-Country Championships in 1984 and in 1986. He competed in the Olympic Games Marathon in Seoul, Korea in 1988, and came in 81st with a time of 2:44:40. The marathon took place Sunday, October 2, 1988 at 2:30pm (local time). There were 118 athletes representing 70 countries, and 98 completed the marathon. Wallace Williams represented the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was the oldest competitor in the competition. Information in this entry was added with permission from the resumé of Wallace Williams. See also C. Buchannan, "On Island Profile: Wallace Williams," St. Croix Source, 07/29/2007 [available online, photo at end of article].


Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Military & Veterans, Track & Field, Migration South, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Wilson, Clarence "Cave", Sr.
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 1996
Wilson led the Horse Cave, KY, Colored School to 65 consecutive basketball victories in the 1940s. He was named to the Tennessee State University Hall of Fame. He was a forward and a point guard for the Harlem Globetrotters (1949-1964), known for his two-handed set shot from mid-court. After his basketball career Wilson was a juvenile caseworker and probation officer in Louisville, KY. He and his teammates were in the movie Harlem Globetrotters, starring Dorothy Dandridge and Thomas Gomez. For more see "Former Harlem Globetrotter Clarence 'Cave' Wilson Dies," Lexington Herald Leader, 09/20/96.
Subjects: Basketball, Corrections and Police, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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