Wayne Yates

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Wayne Yates
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1937-11-07) November 7, 1937 (age 77)
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Playing career
New Mexico State
Memphis State
Los Angeles Lakers
Oakland Oaks (ABL)
Position(s) Center
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Memphis State (asst.)
Memphis State
Northwestern Louisiana
Head coaching record
Overall 141–141

Wayne Yates (born November 7, 1937) is a retired American basketball player and coach. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association and later was a college coach, most notably at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis).

College playing career[edit]

Wayne Yates, a 6'8 center from North Little Rock High School in North Little Rock, Arkansas, first enrolled at New Mexico State University in 1956. He played there two years, earning first team all-Border Conference honors as a sophomore in 1957–58.[1]

Yates transferred to Memphis State University following his sophomore year. After sitting out the 1958–59 season per NCAA transfer rules, Yates played his junior and senior seasons in Memphis. After a junior year where he averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, Yates broke out as a senior. He tallied 17.5 points and 14.4 rebounds and leading the Tigers to a berth in the 1961 National Invitation Tournament. At the end of the season, Yates earned All-America honors from the New York Times and Converse.[2]

Professional career[edit]

After finishing his college career at Memphis State, Yates was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1961 NBA Draft with the fifth pick overall.

Yates played one season for the Lakers, backing up All-Star Rudy LaRusso in 1961–62 NBA season. He averaged 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 37 games in a season shortened by injury. In the offseason, he was traded to the Saint Louis Hawks for future draft picks.[3]

Instead of reporting to the Hawks, Yates signed with the Oakland Oaks of the fledgeling American Basketball League.[4] While Yates found a productive role with the team, averaging 10.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, the league folded before the season ended. Yates was invited to the New York Knicks training camp prior to the 1963–64 NBA season, however he failed to make the team.

Coaching career[edit]

Yates returned to his alma mater, Memphis State, as an assistant to head coach Moe Iba in 1969. When Iba was dismissed in 1970, new coach Gene Bartow retained Yates as an assistant. Yates helped MSU to their first Final Four, as the upstart Tigers made it all the way to the 1973 NCAA tournament final, losing to UCLA. After one more season, Bartow left for Illinois and Yates was elevated to head coach.[5]

The young coach had a successful tenure at Memphis State, leading the Tigers to three straight postseason appearances and four straight 19+ win seasons. However, a subpar 1978–79 season, allegations of NCAA violations,[6] and the academic suspension of Tigers star Tony Rufus[7] all led to Yates announcing his resignation on February 8, 1979. He would be replaced by Dana Kirk at the conclusion of the season. His final record in five seasons at Memphis was 111-49.

After a year off from coaching, Yates was named head coach at Northwestern Louisiana (now Northwestern State University) in 1980. He coached there for five seasons, finishing with a 48-67 record at the school. Yates resigned following a 3-25 season in 1984–85.

College coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Memphis State (Independent) (1974–1975)
1974–75 Memphis State 20–7 NIT first round
Memphis State: 20–7
Memphis State (Metro Conference) (1975–1979)
1975–76 Memphis State 21–9 1–1 4th NCAA first round
1976–77 Memphis State 20–9 2–4 T-5th NIT first round
1977–78 Memphis State 19–9 7–5 3rd
1978–79 Memphis State 13–15 5–5 3rd
Memphis State: 73-42 15–15
Memphis State (total): 93–49 (.655) 15–15 (.500)
Northwestern Louisiana (TAAC) (1980–1984)
1980–81 Northwestern Louisiana 11–17 5–7 7th
1981–82 Northwestern Louisiana 19–9 10–6 2nd
1982–83 Northwestern Louisiana 9–19 5–9 7th
1983–84 Northwestern Louisiana 6–22 2–12 8th
Northwestern Louisiana: 45–67 22–34
Northwestern Louisiana (Gulf Star Conference) (1984–1985)
1984–85 Northwestern Louisiana 3–25 2–8 6th
Northwestern Louisiana: 3–25 2–8
Northwestern Louisiana (total): 48–92 (.343) 24–42 (.364)
Total: 141–141

      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


  1. ^ 2010-11 New Mexico State men's basketball media guide, page 158
  2. ^ 2010-11 Memphis Tigers men's basketball media guide, page 65
  3. ^ AP reports (September 29, 1962). "Hawks acquire Wayne Yates". St. Joseph News-Press. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ UPI reports (October 25, 1962). "Signs with Oaks". Beaver County Times. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ AP reports (March 12, 1974). "Memphis State selects aide". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ UPI reports (May 21, 1978). "NCAA car loan probe denial issued". Sunday Times Sentinel. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ UPI reports (January 3, 1979). "Leading Memphis scorer academically ineligible". The Albany Herald. Retrieved June 26, 2011. 

External links[edit]