Abe Lemons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Abe Lemons
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1922-11-21)November 21, 1922
Ryan, Oklahoma
Died September 2, 2002(2002-09-02) (aged 79)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Playing career
1946–1947
1947–1949
Hardin College
Oklahoma City
Position(s) Center / Forward
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1955–1973
1973–1976
1976–1982
1983–1990
Oklahoma City
Texas-Pan American
Texas
Oklahoma City
Head coaching record
Overall 594–343 (.636)

A.E. "Abe" Lemons (November 21, 1922 - September 2, 2002) was an American college basketball player and coach. As a coach at Oklahoma City University, Texas-Pan American University and the University of Texas, he compiled a record of 599 wins and 343 losses in 34 seasons.

Early life[edit]

Lemons was born in Ryan, Oklahoma and given the initials-only name "A.E.".[1] He grew up in the town of Walters, Oklahoma[2] and graduated from Walters High School in Spring 1941.[1]

He earned a basketball scholarship to play for Southwestern Oklahoma Teachers College (now known as Southwestern Oklahoma State University).[3] and their long-time coach Rankin Williams.

After United States entered World War II in December 1941, he joined the Merchant Marine.[1] He served in the Pacific and often referred to the pressures of his war experience to put sports pressures into perspective.

After the war, he enrolled at Hardin College, which had just added a four-year senior college in 1946.[4] He was a 6 foot 4 inch center/forward for the Indians, who finished 4-15 under first-year head coach Fermon “Red” Rutledge,[5] during the 1946-47 season.[6]

In 1947, he transferred to Oklahoma City University (OCU) where he played two years for coach Doyle Parrack. In 1947-48, the Chiefs had an 18-13 record, which improved to 20-6 in 1948-49.

He married Betty Jo Bills, and they had two daughters Dana and Jan.

Oklahoma City University[edit]

Lemons spent 25 years as head coach at OCU. His first 18 years at OCU from 1955–1973, during which he led OCU to a 309-181 record, two NIT berths and seven NCAA tournament appearances in 1956, 1957, 1963–1966 and 1973. OCU also won the All-College Tournament in 1965. Lemons coached several All-America & future NBA players, such as Arnold Short[7] and Hub Reed.

University of Texas-Pan American[edit]

From 1973 to 1976 Lemons was head coach at Pan American University, where he was named 1974–75 Texas Coach of the Year.

University of Texas[edit]

He took the head coaching position at the University of Texas in 1976. He served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1977 and was named National Coach of the Year in 1978. Lemons' last season at Texas was 1981–82. In March 1978, Lemons led the University of Texas to the championship of the NIT with a victory over North Carolina State.

Return to Oklahoma City University[edit]

In his second stint at OCU, he took the Chiefs to the NAIA Championship tournament once and to the District IX playoffs four times. Lemons was Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1985-1986. OCU had an undefeated season record and a trip to the NAIA tournament in 1986-1987. That year, they were ranked number one throughout the season. The season ended with a 34-1 record, Lemons was named District 9 Coach of the Year and Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. In 1987, he was named Basketball Times Coach of the Year. In 1989, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award.

During his 25 years with OCU, Lemons posted a record of 432-264. He brought positive national attention to the state of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and OCU. He established himself as a "teacher of men," not only in sports, but in the values of life, as proven by the success and leadership accomplishments of his students and players. In 1990, Abe was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Lemons died on September 2, 2002 of complications from Parkinson's Disease at the age of 79.[8]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Oklahoma City Stars (Independent) (1955–1973)
1955–56 Oklahoma City 20-7 NCAA Elite Eight
1956–57 Oklahoma City 19-9 NCAA Elite Eight
1957–58 Oklahoma City 14-12
1958–59 Oklahoma City 20-7 NIT Quarterfinals
1959–60 Oklahoma City 12-13
1960–61 Oklahoma City 14-12
1961–62 Oklahoma City 14-12
1962–63 Oklahoma City 19-10 NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1963–64 Oklahoma City 15-11 NCAA First Round
1964–65 Oklahoma City 21-10 NCAA Elite Eight
1965–66 Oklahoma City 24-5 NCAA First Round
1966–67 Oklahoma City 16-10
1967–68 Oklahoma City 20-7 NIT First Round
1968–69 Oklahoma City 18-9
1969–70 Oklahoma City 17-13
1970–71 Oklahoma City 9-16
1971–72 Oklahoma City 16-12
1972–73 Oklahoma City 21-6 NCAA First Round
Texas–Pan American (Independent) (1973–1976)
1973–74 Texas–Pan American 13-9
1974–75 Texas–Pan American 22-2
1975–76 Texas–Pan American 20-5
Texas–Pan American: 55–16 (.775)
Texas Longhorns (Southwest Conference) (1976–1982)
1976–77 Texas 13-13 8-8 T-4th
1977–78 Texas 26-5 14-2 T-1st NIT Champions
1978–79 Texas 21-8 13-3 T-1st NCAA Second Round
1979–80 Texas 19-11 10-6 3rd NIT Second Round
1980–81 Texas 15-15 7-9 T-6th
1981–82 Texas 16-11 6-10 T-7th
Texas: 110–63 (.636) 58–38 (.604)
Oklahoma City Stars (Midwestern City Conference) (1983–1985)
1983–84 Oklahoma City 8-18 3-11 8th
1984–85 Oklahoma City 6-19 1-13 8th
Oklahoma City Stars (Sooner Athletic Conference) (1985–1990)
1985–86 Oklahoma City 21-6
1986–87 Oklahoma City 34-1
1987–88 Oklahoma City 19-12
1988–89 Oklahoma City 12-14
1989–90 Oklahoma City 18-13
Oklahoma City: 427–264 (.618)
Total: 592–343 (.633)

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Dabney, Eric. "Lemons, Abe (1922-2002)". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Canfield, Owen. "College Basketball's Abe Lemons Dies at 79". National Association of Basketball Coaches. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Abe Lemons". Oklahoma Heritage Association. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Midwestern State University History". Midwestern State University. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "MSU Year-by-Year Records". Midwestern State Athletics. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "ACC Wildcats Trim Hardin, 56-39, in TC Cage Opener". Abilene Reporter-News. 17 January 1947. 
  7. ^ "NCAA College Basketball AP All-America Teams". Basketball Reference.com. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Abe Lemons Is Dead at 79; Coached College Basketball - New York Times