Paintsville native, Marshall grad J.R. Vanhoose among Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s next 17 inductees;
LEXINGTON — Alice Houston is already making plans to be in Elizabethtown on July 20 when the second class of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame is inducted.
And why wouldn’t she? The night will hold special meaning to her as her father, Coach William Kean, and her son, Allan, both will be inducted on the same evening.
“To have both being honored, it’s so wonderful,” Houston said. “I think you have to be a Kentuckian to understand the significance. It’s a tremendous honor. I look forward to having family and friends together for that.”
The second edition of the centennial class of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame was revealed Tuesday at the Griffin Gate Marriot in Lexington with a handful of inductees on hand for the hour-long ceremony. The induction ceremony will take place at the Historic State Theater in downtown Elizabethtown.
Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker spoke about the success of last year’s event prior to this year’s class being announced. He said Elizabethtown is honored to be the host community for such an event.
This year’s class included 13 players and four coaches. The second class is: Joe Fulks (Kuttawa); Howard Crittenden (Cuba); Linville Puckett (Clark County); Johnny Cox (Hazard); Billy Ray Lickert (Lafayette); Larry Conley (Ashland); Alfred “Butch” Beard (Breckinridge County); Mike Casey (Shelby County); Donna Murphy (Newport); Sharon Garland (Laurel County); Houston (Ballard); Jaime Walz-Richey (Highlands); J.R. VanHoose (Paintsville); Kean (Louisville Central); Coach Letcher Norton (Clark County and Trapp); Coach Bobby Watson (Owensboro); and Coach Howard Beth (Marshall County).
“It’s really great,” said Puckett, who led Clark County to the 1951 state title. “There are a lot of good ball players in the state of Kentucky. It’s a great honor to be inducted while you’re still above ground.”
VanHoose is a name many might remember. He is the youngest inductee, graduating from Paintsville in 1998 before enjoying a stellar career at Marshall.
“I was telling Mike Fields (of the Lexington Herald-Leader) growing up you heard stories about Johnny Cox and Larry Conley and you wanted to be like them,” said VanHoose, who led the Tigers to the 1996 state championship. “Now, I’m being inducted with those guys. Linville said to me, ‘I enjoyed watching you play in high school.’ It’s unreal. It’s a great honor. It makes you feel like you really accomplished something.”
Kentucky high school basketball will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018. The first 100 inductees into the Hall of Fame are part of the centennial class, which will be complete that year.
The first group of the centennial class was: “King” Kelly Coleman (Wayland); Wes Unseld (Louisville Seneca); Jim McDaniels (Allen County); Darrell Griffith (Louisville Male); Geri Grigsby (McDowell); Clemette Haskins (Warren Central); Rex Chapman (Owensboro Apollo); Richie Farmer (Clay County); Coach Bobby Keith (Clay County); Coach Roy Bowling (Laurel County); Coach S.T. Roach (Lexington Dunbar); Cliff Hagan (Owensboro); Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones (Harlan); Ralph Beard (Male); Coach Ralph Carlisle (Lexington Lafayette); and Clem Haskins (Taylor County).
The second class of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame:
Joe Fulks (Kuttawa High School, 1941)
Fulks helped modernize the game’s style of play with his skill and finesse more than any player before him. His refinement of the one-handed shot into a jump shot gave him legendary status. He played at Kuttawa his senior year, when he led the Lions to the Sweet 16. He later became a star at Murray State and in the NBA, where he scored 63 points in a game.
Howard Crittenden (Cuba High School, 1952)
Crittenden was a crowd-pleaser at the 1951 and ’52 state tournaments. Named All-Tournament and All-State in both seasons, he helped Cuba win the state title in 1952. He went on to play at Murray State.
Linville Puckett (Clark County High School, 1952)
Puckett was the last of seven brothers who played for Clark County. He led Clark County to the 1951 state championship. He was a three-time All-State honoree. Puckett was also named to the All-Tournament teams following the 1950, ’51 and ’52 state tournaments. He played on the 1954 University of Kentucky team which finished 24-0.
Johnny Cox (Hazard High School, 1955)
Cox led Hazard to the 1955 state championship, scoring 127 points in the tournament and earning All-Tournament honors. Cox was All-State and Mr. Basketball in 1955, earning a scholarship to Kentucky. He was a member of the “Fiddlin’ Five” national championship team.
Billy Ray Lickert (Lexington Lafayette, 1957)
Lickert led Lafayette to the state championship in 1957, scoring 26 points in the championship game. He was named All-State in 1956 and ’57 and was named Mr. Basketball in ’57. He played with Cox at UK.
Larry Conley (Ashland High School, 1962)
Conley helped Ashland win the 1961 state championship and a runner-up finish in ’62. He was All-State in 1961 and ’62 and played at Kentucky on the 1966 national championship team.
Alfred “Butch” Beard (Breckinridge County, 1965)
Beard led the Fighting Tigers to consecutive title games in 1964 and ’65, helping the team win it all in ’65. He was twice named All-State and was named Mr. Basketball in 1965. He played at the University of Louisville alongside Wes Unseld.
Mike Casey (Shelby County, 1966)
Casey was a high school All-American in 1966, when he led the Rockets to the state title and was named Mr. Basketball. He was named All-State twice and went on to star at Kentucky.
Donna Murphy (Newport, 1976)
Murphy’s fluid motion, leaping ability and left-handed jump shot helped propel the popularity of girls’ basketball in its early days. Murphy was selected the Most Valuable Player of the 1975 state tournament after she scored 67 points and grabbed 50 rebounds. She was the first winner of Miss Basketball in 1976 as well as the recipient of the Joe Billy Mansfield Award for academic and athletic achievement. She signed with Morehead State.
Sharon Garland (Laurel County, 1979)
Garland helped Laurel County win three state championships, leading the team in scoring in all three championship games. No other player in girls’ state tournament history has ever won three state championships and led their team in scoring all three games. She was a three-time All-State selection before playing at Western Kentucky University.
Allan Houston (Louisville Ballard, 1988)
Houston, who went on to play for the New York Knicks, led Ballard to the 1988 state title and was that season’s Mr. Basketball. He earned All-American honors as a senior and played at the University of Tennessee.
Jaime Walz-Richey (Fort Thomas Highlands, 1996)
Walz-Richey was named Parade Magazine National Player of the Year, Gatorade Circle of Champions and Kentucky’s Miss Basketball in 1996. She holds the state scoring record (4,948 points) and played at Western Kentucky.
J.R. VanHoose (Paintsville, 1998)
VanHoose was one of only a handful of players to record over 3,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 500 blocks during his prep career. He led Paintsville to the state title in 1996 and a runner-up finish in ’98. He was named the MVP of the 1996 tourney, 1998 Mr. Basketball and 1998 Parade All-American.
Coach William Kean (Louisville Central, 1922-58)
Kean is considered a pioneer of desegregation of athletics in the Bluegrass. His teams won 856 games and lost just 83. Kean won five state championships in the Kentucky Basketball League and four national titles in the National Negro High School Tournament. Kean is the grandfather of Allan Houston.
Coach Letcher Norton (Clark County/Trapp High School, 1935-62)
Norton became a coaching legend over three decades. After starting his career at Trapp High, Norton led Clark County to eight regional titles, a state title in 1951 and a runner-up finish in 1960. He was named state Coach of the Year three times. Norton won 583 games.
Coach Bobby Watson (Owensboro, 1957-80)
Watson was an All-State guard at Owensboro and returned to lead his alma mater to 14 regional championships and two state titles (1972, 1980) in 23 seasons.
Coach Howard Beth (Marshall County, 1980-2010)
Marshall County won 11 consecutive region titles under Beth, who led his team to three state finals apperances and two state titles (1982, 1984). His 800-plus wins are the most for any girls’ coach in the history of Kentucky high school basketball.
By Chuck Jones