Lawrence Cudjoe, who built the Douglas Trojans into a state high school basketball power during an 18-season reign (1956-1974) died Wednesday morning at age 72 of pneumonia and heart complications.
Cudjoe's twin brother, Lance, also a coach died 11 months ago on January 2.
The Cudjoe twins established national reputations as quick, ball-handling guards during their playing for Seminole Brooker T. Washington, Langston University and the Harlem Globetrotters.
After three seasons with the Trotters, Lawrence entered coaching and stayed there until retirement. His first job was to established a program starting at Pawnee Dunbar. This he did weel enough to compiled four-year record of 40-32 and earn a promtion to Oklahoma City Douglass, which through the years has been forced to take a backseat to Tulsa Washington in the OIAA, the black school association.
Lawrence changed that. In his first searson (1956), he gave Douglass the state champtionship. It was the las year of the OIAA, bu the Trojans were ready for entry into the OSSAA. They took home the state runner-up trophy in their first try (1957)
Cudjoe's Douglass teams would suffer only one losing season (10-13) during his 18 years, and the second "worst" mark was 19-9. The OSSAA state championship always eluded Lawrence, but his teams played in 12 state tournaments and three state finals while compiling a 361-115 record.
Every Cudjoe team, except the one loser, finished the searson ranked in the top 10 of the state's largest class, 12 wound up in the top fice and four were ranked No. 1.
The super team was the 1967 unit of Amos Thomas, Michael Reese, Hubert Greenwood, Nathaniel Fowler, Joe Love, Marvin Rich and Lee Gaines which lost a 74-72 state finals heart-breaker to Bartlesville to finish 22-1.
Cudjoe was tabbed in 1975 to upset a struggling Langston program. The Lions improved, but didn't get over the hump. He left coaching after a 15-15 season in 1979, his best in five years at Langston. His total 26-year coaching record would up 450-227, and he was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Lawrence's illness came on suddenly. He entered the hospital five days ago with pneumonia nd like his twin, Lance, slipped fast. "He never really recovered from Lane's death," said Kyle Cudjoe, Lawrence's son.
Lawrence Cudjoe is survived by his wife, Johnell, sons Kyle and Kendall and daughter Kelly. Kyle is an assistant coach at Millwood, and Kendall is PE Instructor at Columbus Elementary and a Big Eight and Missour Valley basketball official.
Lance's two sons also are coaches, Patrick at Carl Albert and Chris at Northeast.
Lawrence and Lance were the second and thrid-oldest of seven brother. The other five are living.
Services have not been set.
Publihsed in the Daily Oklahoman Thursday December 16, 1994 page 33 and 35.
Extra Note: 1930 US Census: Father: Darriel L. Cudjoe Mother: Willie Cudjo Siblings: Wilbur, Alvin and Freeland Cudjoe