Edgar Diddle

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Edgar Diddle
Biographical details
Born(1895-03-12)March 12, 1895
Gradyville, Kentucky
DiedJanuary 2, 1970(1970-01-02) (aged 74)
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Playing career
Position(s)Halfback (football)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1922–1964Western Kentucky
1922–1928Western Kentucky
Head coaching record
Overall759–302 (basketball)
3–4 (NCAA)
7–9 (NIT)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1972 (profile)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Edgar Allen Diddle (March 12, 1895 – January 2, 1970) was an American college men's basketball coach. He is known for coaching at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky from 1922 to 1964. Diddle became the first coach in history to coach 1,000 games at one school. Diddle was known as one of the early pioneers of the fast break and for waving a red towel around along the sidelines. During games he would wave, toss, and chew on this towel, and even cover his face in times of disappointment. His red towel is now part of WKU's official athletic logo. Diddle experienced only five losing seasons in 42 years.

Early life[edit]

He was born near Gradyville, Kentucky.[1] Diddle played basketball and football for Centre College and was a member of their 1919 undefeated basketball team and 1919 undefeated football team.[2] He was a halfback on the football team.[3] After college, he coached basketball at Monticello High School, where he guided the team to the Kentucky State Tournament semi-finals, and then Greenville High School, which played in a regional tournament at Bowling Green. During the tournament, he came to the attention of officials at Western Kentucky who offered him the coaching position at the college.

Career at Western Kentucky[edit]

He became Western Kentucky Hilltoppers basketball coach in 1922. Diddle's Western Kentucky teams claimed 32 conference championships; played in 13 national postseason tournaments (an impressive total considering that there was no national tournament for the first 15 years of his tenure); won 20+ games eighteen different times (including 10 consecutive); became the first team from the South to participate in the Olympic Trials; the first Kentucky team to play in the NCAA Tournament and National Invitation Tournament; and were nationally ranked numerous times. In 1942 he led the Hilltoppers to the national championship game. His 1948 team finished 3rd nationally and the 1954 team finished 4th. Diddle's teams led the NCAA in victories six seasons and had the highest winning percentage in 1948.[4] When he retired in 1964, he had won a then record 759 games.

While Diddle was best known for coaching men's basketball, he also coached football (1922–1928), baseball (1923–1957) and women's basketball at Western.


An image of E.A. Diddle Arena.

E. A. Diddle Arena, the basketball venue at WKU, built in 1963, is named for him. For the last six years of his life, Diddle was a fixture at the arena, even leading cheers. During a 1968 game against Dayton, he jumped on top of a press table to lead the students in cheers. When a Dayton sportswriter told him to get down, Diddle snapped, "What do you mean I can't get on top of this table? This is my damn gym!".[5]

Hall of Fame[edit]

Coach Diddle has been inducted into the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame,[6] The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,[7] the Western Kentucky University Athletic Hall of Fame,[8] the Centre College Athletic Hall of Fame,[9] and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.[10]

Head coaching record[edit]


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Independent) (1922–1926)
1922–23 Western Kentucky 12–2
1923–24 Western Kentucky 9–9
1924–25 Western Kentucky 8–6
1925–26 Western Kentucky 10–4
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1926–1948)
1926–27 Western Kentucky 12–7
1927–28 Western Kentucky 10–7
1928–29 Western Kentucky 8–10
1929–30 Western Kentucky 4–12
1930–31 Western Kentucky 11–3
1931–32 Western Kentucky 15–8 1st KIAC
1932–33 Western Kentucky 16–6 1st KIAC
1933–34 Western Kentucky 28–8 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1934–35 Western Kentucky 24–3 1st KIAC
1935–36 Western Kentucky 26–4 1st KIAC National Olympics
1936–37 Western Kentucky 21–2 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1937–38 Western Kentucky 30–3 1st KIAC 1st SIAA NAIA* (declined/forfeit)
1938–39 Western Kentucky 22–3 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1939–40 Western Kentucky 24–6 1st KIAC 1st SIAA NCAA Elite Eight
1940–41 Western Kentucky 22–4 1st SIAA
1941–42 Western Kentucky 29–5 1st KIAC 1st SIAA NIT Runner-up
1942–43 Western Kentucky 24–3 1st KIAC NIT Quarterfinals
1943–44 Western Kentucky 13–9
1944–45 Western Kentucky 17–10
1945–46 Western Kentucky 15–19
1946–47 Western Kentucky 25–4 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1947–48 Western Kentucky 28–2 1st KIAC
NCAA Annual Team Champions
NIT 3rd Place
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Ohio Valley Conference) (1948–1964)
1948–49 Western Kentucky 25–4 8–2 1st NIT Quarterfinals
1949–50 Western Kentucky 25–6 8–0 1st NIT Quarterfinals
1950–51 Western Kentucky 19–10 4–4 4th NCT 1st Round
1951–52 Western Kentucky 26–5 11–1 1st NIT Quarterfinals
1952–53 Western Kentucky 25–6 8–2 2nd NIT Quarterfinals
1953–54 Western Kentucky 29–3 9–1 1st NIT 4th Place
1954–55 Western Kentucky 18–10 8–2 1st
1955–56 Western Kentucky 16–12 7–3 T-1st
1956–57 Western Kentucky 17–9 9–1 T-1st
1957–58 Western Kentucky 14–11 5–5 3rd
1958–59 Western Kentucky 16–10 8–4 2nd
1959–60 Western Kentucky 21–7 10–2 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1960–61 Western Kentucky 18–8 9–3 T-1st
1961–62 Western Kentucky 17–10 11–1 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1962–63 Western Kentucky 5–16 3–9 7th
1963–64 Western Kentucky 5–16 3–11 8th
Western Kentucky: 759–302 121–51
Total: 759-302

      National champion         Postseason invitational 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

BOLD indicates lead the NCAA in victories.[11]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association) (1922–1928)
1922 Western Kentucky 9–1
1923 Western Kentucky 5–4
1924 Western Kentucky 4–5
1925 Western Kentucky 3–5–1
1926 Western Kentucky 4–4–1
1927 Western Kentucky 5–4
1928 Western Kentucky 8–1
Western Kentucky: 38–24–2
Total: 38–24–2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Holl, R.E. (2015). Committed to Victory: The Kentucky Home Front During World War II. Topics in Kentucky History. University Press of Kentucky. p. pt270. ISBN 978-0-8131-6564-6. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  2. ^ "Edgar Allen Diddle". Western Kentucky University Alumni. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Frank G. Weaver. "Come On, You Praying Kentucians". Association Men. 45: 416.
  4. ^ "E.A. Diddle". E.A. Diddle College Record. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Story of Legendary WKU Basketball Coach E.A. Diddle". Western Kentucky University. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "E A Diddle". Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  7. ^ "Edgar A. Diddle". The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Edgar Diddle". Western Kentucky University Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ed Diddle". Centre College Athletic Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Edgar Diddle". The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "E.A. Diddle". E.A. Diddle College Record. Retrieved October 6, 2018.

External links[edit]