UK Men's Basketball

'The true definition of a leader.' Remembrances of C.M. Newton.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari received a surprise visit from C.M. Newton during a press conference after UK defeated Alabama in 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari received a surprise visit from C.M. Newton during a press conference after UK defeated Alabama in 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Herald-Leader

C.M. Newton's death at the age of 88 on Monday brought an outpouring of condolences from friends and colleagues.

Following are reactions from around the athletics world to the passing of the University of Kentucky and Southeastern Conference coach and administrator.

Mitch Barnhart, University of Kentucky athletics director:

“C.M. Newton is a giant in the history of the University of Kentucky, the Southeastern Conference and in the sport of basketball. As a student-athlete, he was a national champion basketball player and star baseball pitcher. He returned to his alma mater when he was needed most and provided stability, leadership and growth for UK Athletics for more than a decade. His coaching accomplishments and honors at Transylvania, Alabama and Vanderbilt speak for themselves.

“His contributions to the sport of basketball continue to this day. As chairman of the NCAA rules committee, he introduced the shot clock and the three-point shot. For decades, he worked tirelessly to promote international basketball and was well-rewarded by his election to the Naismith Hall of Fame.

“Most of all is the impact he had on thousands of people as a coach, mentor and friend. He understood what it meant to be a servant-leader and will be dearly missed. Our condolences and best wishes go out to his wife, Nancy, his children Deborah, Tracy and Martin, and the family and friends.”

John Calipari, University of Kentucky men's basketball coach:

"Please keep him and his family in your prayers. During one of the most trying times of our athletic department, he came to the rescue and put us on the path we are today. May you rest in peace, my friend."

Read Calipari's thoughts about Newton from a post last week.

Tubby Smith, former University of Kentucky men's basketball coach:

"We lost a wonderful person today in C.M. Newton. I want to first send out our dearest condolences to his wife, Nancy, his three children and all of their relatives. Coach Newton has been a mentor for me for a number of years and has guided my career from the first time I met him."

C.M. Newton's major career milestones including his years on the Kentucky Basketball team, as a coach at other schools and as UK athletics director.

Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Majority Leader:

"Today, the Commonwealth of Kentucky lost C.M. Newton, a Hall of Fame legend in college sports. As a player, coach, and administrator, C.M. was a trailblazer who helped integrate teams and develop the game of basketball we know today. His leadership at the University of Kentucky inspired a renewed sense of excitement that fans continue to enjoy throughout the Bluegrass State.

"With respect and dignity, my friend C.M. created a legacy of excellence that will carry on for years to come. Elaine and I join countless players, fans, and loved ones to remember C.M’s remarkable life and to send our deepest condolences to his family.”

David Williams II, Vanderbilt University's vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director:

“C.M. was a great in the field of college sports. As a coach, an athletics director or an adviser to those of us who worked with him, played against him or were fortune to learn from him, C.M. represents the very best of college sports. The foundation of what we have been able to accomplish at Vanderbilt is directly linked to C.M.’s time on our campus and his longtime love and support for this university. On a personal note, C.M. was a great friend who always had time to help with the complex issues, as well as offer a simple hello and ask how family was doing. College athletics are much better because of C.M. Newton.”

Herald-Leader sports writers John Clay, Jerry Tipton and Mark Story all offer their thoughts on the former UK athletic director C. M. Newton.

Will Perdue, former Vanderbilt Player:

“Coach Newton was the true definition of a leader. He was my coach at Vanderbilt, but he also was so much more. He was my father away from home, a role model for me to look up to, a motivator and a truly patient individual. He taught me basketball, but he also taught me what's expected of a man. The basketball community has lost its best friend.”

Greg Byrne, University of Alabama director of athletics:

"Coach Newton was a true leader in intercollegiate athletics. He took risks and was willing to do the right thing even when it was not the most popular thing. He made a tremendous impact on The University of Alabama, the University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University, Transylvania University and the Southeastern Conference. Thousands of student-athletes have been positively impacted because of his approach as an athletics director, a coach and an exemplary human being."

Avery Johnson, University of Alabama men's basketball coach:

"I was extremely saddened when I heard of the passing of legendary former University of Alabama coach C.M. Newton. C.M. was present at my first press conference when I arrived at Alabama back in April of 2015 and was always very supportive. He welcomed me with open arms and was so instrumental in my transition to The University of Alabama. C.M. impacted so many people in the world of basketball on the collegiate and professional levels and with USA basketball. His spirit will continue to live on, and we will strive to make him proud of us each and every day."

C.M. Newton's major career milestones including his years on the Kentucky Basketball team, as a coach at other schools and as UK athletics director.

Herald-Leader sports writers John Clay, Jerry Tipton and Mark Story all offer their thoughts on the former UK athletic director C. M. Newton.

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