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John B Mclendon, Jr
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Birth: Apr. 5, 1915
Brown County
Kansas, USA
Death: Oct. 8, 1999
Cleveland Heights
Cuyahoga County
Ohio, USA

Hall of Fame Basketball Coach
McLendon was the last coach to learn basketball from its inventor, Dr. James Naismith. Naismith taught at Kansas in the early 1930's were Naismith was introducing a new major called physical education. When McLendon entered Kansas in 1932, he was one of sixty black students on campus. McLendon wanted to play on the school's basketball team but, legendary coach Phog Allen, refused to allow him to play on the all-white varsity team. One of the test to play on the team required the player to be able to swim, McLendon had been a lifeguard prior to entering college but wanted to prove himself and pass the test. He used the schools pool to practice his swimming skills. The following day, school workers drained the pool and he was encouraged not to continue with his tryout for the team. He persisted in a quiet manner and with the help of other students and Naismith, the pool was integrated. However, it would take many more years before the basketball team would be. At the urging of Naismith, McLendon decided to pursue a career in coaching but found only black colleges open to him. His first coaching job was at North Carolina College for Negros, which was renamed North Carolina Central University in 1937. By 1940, he was its head coach. His teams won eight CIAA titles from 1941 to 1952. Off the court, McLendon was pushing for the rights for black schools to be included in the NCAA and NAIA tournaments. The organizations stalled him by saying that they felt that the fans were not ready for the way that black players played or by the competence of black coaches. In 1953 NAIA admitted black schools and NCAA followed in 1956. By 1957 McLendon was coaching at Tennessee State and its team won the NAIA tournament. They won again in 1958 and 1959. They forever quelled the doubts of the competence of black teams and coaches. McLendon became the first coach to win three straight national titles in collegiate basketball. He moved up to a professional team when the Cleveland Pipers hired him as its head coach in 1961. After the break up of the short lived league, he was hired by Cleveland State and became the first black basketball coach to coach a predominantly white university. He was also the first coach to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
Lake View Cemetery
Cuyahoga County
Ohio, USA
Plot: Section 48 Lot 22-B
Created by: Mamaquilts
Record added: Aug 04, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 74417335
John B Mclendon, Jr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Mike Reed
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