How cool is John McLendon?
Very cool. John McLendon is the first person to be enshrined in to the Naismith Hall of Fame as a coach and contributor (Four others have been enshrined as player and coach). He was the first Black-American to earn a Physical Education degree from the University of Kansas where he was mentored by James Naismith. As a contributor he is credited for the sports global popularity. He traveled to over 58 countries teaching the fundamentals of basketball. He also played a crucial role in the development of the fast pace offense, the full court press, and two in the corner offense. Arguably, his greatest contribution to basketball is using the sport as a platform to break through color barriers. John McLendon was the first black coach of an integrated professional team (Cleveland Pipers), an ABA team (Denver Rockets) and a predominately white college (Cleveland State). He was also a coach on the Olympic basketball coaching staff (1968, 1972). After 34 years of coaching, McLendon retired with 744 career wins. He was the first coach to win three straight national championships with Tennessee A&I (1957, 1958, 1959). He also won eight CIAA championships, and was the 1958 NAIA coach of the year.