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Kansas Basketball Legends to Remember During March Madness - March 17, 2017

Q: Basketball Hall-of-Fame Coach John McLendon invented the fast break. He was also the first African-American coach to win a national basketball championship -- AND -- the first men’s basketball coach to win three consecutive national championships. Oh, yeah... he also coached in the Olympics. Where, in Kansas, was he born?


 
A: Hiawatha  
 
John B. McLendon was a pioneering basketball coach and a great contributor to the sport. He was also the first African-American coach to win a national basketball championship. Born in Hiawatha in 1915, McLendon attended the University of Kansas where he was mentored by the game’s inventor, James Naismith. When he graduated from KU in 1936, he became the first African-American to receive a bachelor’s degree in physical education.  
 
McLendon enjoyed a significant college coaching career and became the first professional African-American coach in the ABL for Cleveland. He died in 1999 at the age of 84. McLendon was enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame as both a contributor and as a coach.  
 
But wait, there's more! If you haven't seen the new documentary about McLendon, you'll have another chance to see it on public television. Tune in to KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, at 8:30 Saturday night (March 18, 2017).  
 
Or, get your copy HERE.

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