|Born||November 21, 1922|
|Died||September 2, 2002 (aged 79)|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
2 SWC regular season (1978, 1979)
SAC regular season (1987)
|NABC Coach of the Year (1978)|
A.E. "Abe" Lemons (November 21, 1922 – September 2, 2002) was an American college basketball player and coach. As a head coach at Oklahoma City University, Pan American University and the University of Texas at Austin, he compiled a record of 594–343 in 34 seasons.
After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Lemons joined the Merchant Marine. He served in the Pacific and often referred to the pressures of his war experience to put sports into perspective.
After the war, Lemons enrolled at Hardin College, which had just added a four-year senior college in 1946. He was a 6-foot 4-inch center/forward for the Indians, who finished 4-15 under first-year head coach Fermon "Red" Rutledge, during the 1946–47 season.
Oklahoma City University
Lemons was hired in 1955 to coach at his alma mater. He would coach the program until 1973 in his first tenure there. During that time, the team went 309–181 while making the NIT twice while appearing in the NCAA tournament seven times (1956, 1957, 1963–1966, and 1973). Oklahoma City also won the All-College Tournament in 1965. Lemons coached several All-America & future NBA players, such as Arnold Short and Hub Reed.
Pan American University
From 1973 to 1976, Lemons was head coach at Pan American University, where he was named 1974–75 Texas Coach of the Year and coached the nation's leading scorer in Marshall Rogers.
University of Texas
Lemons 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.
Lemons became beloved across all of his jobs for his witticisms, but at his most prominent job, Texas, he made a number of notable quotes that made him popular among the fanbase. The Longhorns would enjoy a minor blip in national prominence under Lemons, with the aforementioned NIT championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1979.
Return to Oklahoma City University
Lemons returned to Oklahoma City University in 1983. In his second stint at the program, Lemons took the Chiefs (now known as the Stars) 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, Lemons was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
Personal life and death
Lemons married Betty Jo Bills, and they had two daughters, Dana and Jan.
Head coaching record
|Oklahoma City Chiefs (NCAA University Division independent) (1955–1973)|
|1955–56||Oklahoma City||20–7||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1956–57||Oklahoma City||19–9||NCAA University Division Elite Eight|
|1958–59||Oklahoma City||20–7||NIT Quarterfinal|
|1962–63||Oklahoma City||19–10||NCAA University Division Sweet 16|
|1963–64||Oklahoma City||15–11||NCAA University Division First Round|
|1964–65||Oklahoma City||21–10||NCAA University Division Elite Eight|
|1965–66||Oklahoma City||24–5||NCAA University Division First Round|
|1967–68||Oklahoma City||20–7||NIT First Round|
|1972–73||Oklahoma City||21–6||NCAA University Division First Round|
|Pan American Broncs (Independent) (1973–1976)|
|Pan American:||55–16 (.775)|
|Texas Longhorns (Southwest Conference) (1976–1982)|
|1978–79||Texas||21–8||13–3||T–1st||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|1979–80||Texas||19–11||10–6||3rd||NIT Second Round|
|Texas:||110–63 (.636)||58–38 (.604)|
|Oklahoma City Chiefs (Midwestern City Conference) (1983–1985)|
|Oklahoma City Chiefs (Sooner Athletic Conference) (1985–1990)|
|1986–87||Oklahoma City||34–1||NAIA Second Round|
|Oklahoma City:||427–264 (.618)|
Postseason invitational champion
- Dabney, Eric. "Lemons, Abe (1922-2002)". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Canfield, Owen. "College Basketball's Abe Lemons Dies at 79". National Association of Basketball Coaches. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- "Abe Lemons" (PDF). Oklahoma Heritage Association. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- "Midwestern State University History". Midwestern State University. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- "MSU Year-by-Year Records". Midwestern State Athletics. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- "ACC Wildcats Trim Hardin, 56-39, in TC Cage Opener". Abilene Reporter-News. 17 January 1947.
- "NCAA College Basketball AP All-America Teams". Basketball Reference.com. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Abe Lemons Is Dead at 79; Coached College Basketball - New York Times