Inaugural Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame class announced

mfields@herald-leader.comMarch 13, 2012 

Geri Grigsby, left, Bobby Keith, Wah Wah Jones, Clem Haskins, Roy Bowling and Lettie Roach (S.T. Roach's widow) helped announce the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame Tuesday.

  • Inaugural Hall of Fame class

    Ralph Beard: Point guard for Male in the 1940s and led the Bulldogs to the state title in 1945.

    Roy Bowling: Coached Laurel County's girls to four state titles (1977, '78, '79, '87) and won more than 400 games.

    Ralph Carlisle: Coached Lafayette to three state titles (1950, '53, '57) on his way to 488 career victories.

    Rex Chapman: Played for Apollo, where his talent (first-team Parade All-America) and flair for the game made him a fan favorite. He was Mr. Basketball in 1986.

    Kelly Coleman: "King Kelly" scored 4,263 points in his career at Wayland and set state tournament records with 62 points and 29 rebounds in 1956. He was the first Mr. Basketball in '56.

    Richie Farmer: The Clay County legend played in five consecutive state tournaments, highlighted by a state title in 1987. He had a championship-game record 51 points in the Tigers' runner-up finish to Ballard in 1988.

    Darrell Griffith: He led Male to three consecutive state finals, including a state championship in 1975, and was Mr. Basketball in 1976.

    Geri Grigsby: A scoring machine at McDowell in the mid-1970s, she scored 4,385 points in her career. She averaged 49.8 points in 1977 and was named Miss Basketball.

    Clem Haskins: One of the best big guards in state history, he played for Durham before transferring to Taylor County prior to his junior year. He led Taylor County to the state tournament in 1963.

    Clemette Haskins: The daughter of Clem Haskins, Clemette had 2,856 points and 1,731 rebounds at Warren Central and led her team to the state title in 1983. She was Miss Basketball in 1983.

    Cliff Hagan: Played for Owensboro and was known for his hook shot. Led Red Devils to 1949 state title and had a championship-game-record 42 points.

    Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones: He played in four state tournaments for the Harlan Green Dragons and won a state title in 1944. He had 2,398 career points.

    Bobby Keith: He coached Clay County to 767 victories in 28 years, including a state title in 1987 and runner-up finishes in 1985 and 1988.

    Jim McDaniels: A 7-foot star for Allen County in the mid-1960s, he had more than 3,000 points and 2,000 rebounds in his career. He averaged 38 points and 25 rebounds and was Mr. Basketball in 1967.

    S.T. Roach: He coached Dunbar's Bearcats for 22 years and had more than 600 career wins. Dunbar, the first all-black school to join the KHSAA in 1957, was Sweet Sixteen runner-up twice.

    Wes Unseld: One of the best pivot men in state history, he led Seneca to back-to-back Sweet Sixteen titles in 1963 and 1964. He was Mr. Basketball in 1964.

Kentucky high school basketball is getting its own Hall of Fame. It will not only have a brick-and-mortar structure, but also a mission of conveying the "essence" of the game to the state's young people.

The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches made that announcement on Tuesday and named the Hall of Fame's first inductees.

The inaugural class is made up of 16 former players and coaches, including legends "King" Kelly Coleman, Ralph Carlisle, Richie Farmer, Darrell Griffith, Cliff Hagan, Jim McDaniels, S.T. Roach and Wes Unseld.

On hand for the news conference at the Marriott were honorees Roy Bowling, Geri Grigsby, Clem Haskins, Bobby Keith and Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones.

Haskins, whose daughter Clemette is also in the Hall of Fame's charter class, said his days at Taylor County were the most enjoyable of his basketball life:

"I was very blessed to play on all three levels — high school, college and the NBA — and to coach for many years. High school basketball was the most fun for me."

Keith, a coaching legend at Clay County, said being in the first class "is probably the biggest honor I've had in my life. To be mentioned with all these great coaches and players is unbelievable."

Bowling, who coached Laurel County's girls to four state titles, said there are other Halls, "but this one means more. From what I've heard, it's really going to be an outstanding organization that people statewide will be interested in and proud of."

Ken Trivette, executive director of the KABC, said the new Hall of Fame will be located in Elizabethtown at a site to be determined.

The first class of honorees will be inducted on July 14 in Elizabethtown. The plan is to name a dozen or so new inductees every year so the Hall has 100 members by 2018 — the 100th anniversary of Kentucky high school basketball.

In the meantime, Rick Whobrey, executive director of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, will crisscross the state doing promotion and fund-raising.

"I can't wait to share our vision for this Hall of Fame with every county and community in Kentucky," Whobrey said

Trivette said the organization will go into schools across the state to stress the "essence of high school basketball and the life lessons it can teach."

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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