Tuesday, September 19, 2017

George King

George Smith King, Jr.

August 16, 1928
Charleston, WV

October 5, 2006
Naples, FL

1944-45 Stonewall Jackson High School - Charleston, WV (High School)
1945-46 Stonewall Jackson High School - Charleston, WV (High School)
1947-48 Morris Harvey College - West Virginia (College) 
1948-49 Morris Harvey College - West Virginia (College) 
1949-50 Morris Harvey College - West Virginia (College) 
1950-51 Phillips 66'ers (Independent/AAU)
1951-52 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1952-53 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1953-54 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1954-55 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1955-56 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1956-57 Morris Harvey College - West Virginia (College) Head coach
1957-58 Cincinnati Royals (NBA)
1958-59 West Virginia University (College) Assistant coach
1959-60 West Virginia University (College) Assistant coach 
1960-61 West Virginia University (College) Head coach
1961-62 West Virginia University (College) Head coach
1962-63 West Virginia University (College) Head coach
1963-64 West Virginia University (College) Head coach
1964-65 West Virginia University (College) Head coach
1965-66 Purdue University (College) Head coach
1966-67 Purdue University (College) Head coach
1967-68 Purdue University (College) Head coach
1968-69 Purdue University (College) Head coach
1969-70 Purdue University (College) Head coach
1970-71 Purdue University (College) Head coach
1971-72 Purdue University (College) Head coach 

King was an All-American at Morris Harvey College (now the University of Charleston), and was drafted by the Chicago Stags in the 1950 NBA Draft, but the Stags folded before the season began. He played for the Phillips's 66ers independent team before signing with the Syracuse Nationals for the next season. He spent five seasons with the Naitonals and then took the head coaching job back at Morris Harvey. After one season, he returned to the NBA, playing with the Cincinnati Royal in 1957-58. He took an assistant coaching job at West Virginia in 1958 and quit playing for good. After two seasons as assistant, he was promoted to the head coach job. He had a 102-43 record in five seasons there, and then moved over to Purdue, leading Purdue to their first Big Ten title in 29 years. After the 1971-72 season, he was named the the school's Athletic Director, a job he held until retiring in 1992.

He and his wife, Jeanne, had two sons and three daughters.



Jack Kiley

John Francis Kiley, Jr.

January 5, 1929
Irvington, NJ

February 16, 1982
Baltimore, MD

1945-46 Seton Hall Prep - South Orange, NJ (High School)
1946-47 Seton Hall Prep - South Orange, NJ (High School)
1948-49 Syracuse University (College)
1949-50 Syracuse University (College)
1950-51 Syracuse University (College)
1951-52 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1952-53 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)

Born in Irvington, New Jersey, Kiley grew up in Newark before going to Seton Hall Prep. He went on to play basketball at Syracuse, scoring just under 1200 points, and was a second round draft pick of the Fort Wayne Pistons.

He later worked for many years as a sales rep for the BBL Division of Becton Industries, Bristoil Laboratories and Johnson and Johnson. He died in 1982 following a lengthy illness.

He married Jane Pfaff and they had two sons and a daughter.

Obituary, Baltimore Sun, February 18, 1982


Neil Johnston

Donald Neil Johnston

February 4, 1929
Chillicothe, OH

September 28, 1978
Irving, TX

1944-45 Chillicothe High School - Ohio (High School)
1945-46 Chillicothe High School - Ohio (High School)
1946-47 Ohio State University (College)
1947-48 Ohio State University (College)
1948-49 Columbus Mariners - Ohio (Independent)
1948-49 Gerber's Lustrons - Chillicothe, OH (Independent)
1949-50 Gerling Builders - Chillicothe, OH (Independent)
1949-50 Agonis Club - Newark, OH (Independent)
1950-51 Agonis Club - Newark, OH (Independent)
1951-52 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1951-53 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1951-54 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1951-55 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1951-56 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1951-57 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1951-58 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1958-59 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1959-60 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA) Head coach
1960-61 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA) Head coach
1961-62 Pittsburgh Rens (ABL) Head coach / player
1962-63 Pittsburgh Rens (ABL) Head coach
1964-65 Wilmington Blue Bombers (EBL) Head coach
1965-66 Wilmington Blue Bombers (EBL) Head coach
1966-67 Wake Forest (College) Assistant coach
1967-68 Wake Forest (College) Assistant coach
1968-69 Wake Forest (College) Assistant coach
1969-70 Wake Forest (College) Assistant coach
1970-71 Wake Forest (College) Assistant coach
1971-72 Wake Forest (College) Assistant coach
1972-73 Portland Trailblazers (NBA) Assistant coach
1973-74 Portland Trailblazers (NBA) Assistant coach
1976-77 Chemetka Community College - Salem, OR (College) Head coach


Johnston played both baseball and basketball at Chillicothe HS and then at Ohio State. He left school early to pursue baseball, pitching in the Philles farm system from 1949-1951. After pitching for Wilmington in the Interstate (B) League in 1951, his manager Jim Ward helped him get a tryout with the Philadelphia Warriors. He made the team, and never looked back to the mound. Blessed with a sweet hook shot, Johnston played 8 seasons with the Warriors, leading the league in shooting percentage multiple times and also in rebounded. (He also got a Masters Degree at Temple during this time.) In 1959, he severely injured his knee and moved from the court to the bench, coaching the Warriors for 2 seasons. He moved over the the Pittsburgh Rens of the new ABL in 1961, and was a player / coach. He quite playing but stayed on the bench in the next season, and the ABL folded after the 62-63 season. After a year off, Johnston coached Wilmington in the Eastern League for a couple seasons before Jack McCloskey hired him as his assistant at Wake Forest. Six years later, McCloskey left for the NBA, and Johnston was not hired by Wake to replace him, and instead fired him. McCloskey brought him on board at Portland. They were both fired after two seasons there. Johnston took a job with the BBB in Portland before returning to basketball in 1976 as the head coach at Chemetka CC in Salem, Oregon. After one season there, he was offered the Athletic Director job at North Lake Community College in Irving Texas in the summer of 1977.

On one warm September day in 1978, Johnston was playing basketball with some friends and family when he collapsed. The heart attack he was suffering would prove to be fatal. He was only 49 years old. He was posthumously elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.

Neil married Phyllis Wilson (1931-1980) and they had two sons and three daughters.

Minor League Baseball Stats

News Journal (Wilmington, DE), January 13, 1966
News Journal (Wilmington, DE), April 6, 1972
Obituary, Statesman Journal (Salem, OR), September 29, 1978


Mel Hutchins

Melvin Ray Hutchins

November 22, 1928
Sacramento, CA


1945-46 Monrovia High School - California (High School)
1946-47 Monrovia High School - California (High School)
1947-48 Brigham Young University (College)
1948-49 Brigham Young University (College)
1949-50 Brigham Young University (College)
1950-51 Brigham Young University (College)
1951-52 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1952-53 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1953-54 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1954-55 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1955-56 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1956-57 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1957-58 New York Knicks (NBA)

After a stellar career at BYU, Hutchins was the second pick overall in the 1951 draft, selected by Tri-Cities (who would announce their move to Milwaukee weeks later.) Hutchins would lead the NBA in rebounding in his rookie year, a feat only accomplished by one other player, Wilt Chamberlain. In 1953, the Hawks sold him to the Pistons, and in his four seasons there the Pistons made it to the NBA Finals twice. After the 1957 season, we has traded along with Charlie Tyra to the New York Knicks for Dick Atha, Nat Clifton and Harry Gallatin. His career ended following a serious knee injury in 1958.

His sister, Colleen, was named Miss America in 1952. She married fellow pro basketball player Ernie Vandeweghe and their son (Mel's nephew) Kiki also played in the NBA.



Lew Hitch

Lewis Rufus Hitch

July 16, 1929
Griggsville, IL

February 8, 2012
Wamego, KS

1945-46 Griggsville High School - Illinois (High School)
1946-47 Griggsville High School - Illinois (High School)
1947-48 Culver-Stockton College - Missouri (College)
1948-49 Kansas State University (College)
1949-50 Kansas State University (College)
1950-51 Kansas State University (College)
1951-52 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1952-53 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1953-54 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1954-55 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1954-55 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1955-56 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1956-57 Rochester Royals (NBA)
1956-57 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1957-58 Ellis High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1958-59 Ellis High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1959-60 Ellis High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1960-61 Ellis High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1961-62 Wichita Heights High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1962-63 Wichita Heights High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1963-64 Wichita Heights High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1964-65 Wichita Heights High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1965-66 Wichita Heights High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach
1966-67 Wichita Heights High School - Kansas (High School) Head coach

Born to Rufus and Maurine Hitch, Lew went to Griggsville HS before being awarded a basketball scholarship at Culver-Stockton Junior College. After a year there, he transferred to Kansas State, playing three years.Graduating from KSU, Hitch was a second-round draft pick of the Lakers, where he won two NBA championships in his two years there before being sold to the Hawks in October of 1953.He played with the Hawks until February 15, 1955, when he was traded back to the Lakers in exchange for Bobby Watson and the rights to unsigned players Carl McNulty and Dick Rutherford. He played two more seasons the the Lakers until May of 1956 when he was traded to the Rochester Royals for the draft rights of Bob McKeen. In January of 1957, he was sold to the Philadelphia Warriors. He finished the year with the Warriors and then retired from playing.

His basketball career done, Hitch moved to Ellis, Kansas, and then on to Wichita to teach and coach high school basketball. He moved to Westmoreland, Kansas, in 1971, and eventually became a superintendent until retiring in 1990. Hitch died on 2012 following a long illness.

He married Danna Jean Foltz (d. 2004) in 1953 and they had three sons.

Chicago Tribune, February 17, 1955
Family Tree


Monday, September 18, 2017

Jake Fendley

John Phillip "Jake" Fendley

June 12, 1929
Danville, IL

August 9, 2002
Oak Park, IL

1943-44 South Shore High School - Chicago, IL (High School)
1944-45 South Shore High School - Chicago, IL (High School)
1945-46 South Shore High School - Chicago, IL (High School)
1946-47 South Shore High School - Chicago, IL (High School)
1948-49 Northwestern University (College)
1949-50 Northwestern University (College)
1950-51 Northwestern University (College)
1951-52 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1952-53 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)

After starring at Shore HS and Northwestern, Fendley was drafted by the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1951. After two seasons, he left the Pistons tw raise a family, and began working ABC-TV in Chicago. Working in advertising, we would eventually move to McCall's, and then to WGN where he was promoted to the position of Sports Sales Director.

He and his wife, Pat, had two sons and two daughters.

Obituary, Chicago Tribune, August 13, 2002


Elmer Behnke

Elmer H. or E. Behnke, Jr.

February 3, 1929
Rockford, IL


1945-46 Marengo High School - Illinois (High School)
1946-47 Marengo High School - Illinois (High School)
1947-48 Bradley University (College)
1948-49 Bradley University (College)
1949-50 Bradley University (College)
1950-51 Bradley University (College)
1951-52 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)

Born in Rockford, Elmer played basketball at Bradley, where the team made it to the NCAA championship game, losing to CCNY in 1950. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Rochester Royals, but was released and signed by the Hawks. After four games, Behnke was let go in November of 1951. He took employment at Caterpillar Tractor

He married Lee Thompson in 1953.

Marengo Republican-News, May 14, 1953