Hometown: Paris, KY High
Position: G-F Playing Height: 5-11 Playing Weight: 165
Date of Birth: May 19, 1899
Date of Death: January 10, 2003
Additional Photos: (1) (2) (3) (4)
Game by Game Statistics
Kentucky Career Notes:
Retired Jersey #
Multi-Sport Player [Track]
Transferred from Transylvania
Future Kentucky Head Coach
1920-21: All-American [Helms]
Post-UK Career Notes:
Served in the Military
Obituary - BASKETBALL PLAYER ALSO COACHED ONE ILL-FATED YEAR, Lexington Herald-Leader (January 11, 2003) by Jennifer Hewlett
Basil Ewing Hayden died Thursday at Bourbon Heights in Paris. He was 103.
Mr. Hayden became UK's first basketball All-American in 1921. He went on to coach at UK for one season -- 1926-27 -- in which the Wildcats had an abysmal 3-13 record. UK's next losing season was not until 1988-89, when Eddie Sutton coached the Wildcats to a 13-19 record.
But basketball was just one part of a life that spanned three centuries. Mr. Hayden also taught school, did tax work and was a bank officer, state bank examiner and hospital administrator. He retired in his 70s from a position with the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Still, he probably will be best remembered for being the first UK basketball All-American.
"I'm kind of famous for it," he said in a 1989 interview. "Ask anyone in Bourbon County about Basil Hayden. They'll say, 'He played basketball.'"
Mr. Hayden was a 5-foot-11, 165-pound play-making forward whose main role was getting the ball to the team's high scorers. However, he also was an accurate shooter and scored points on follow shots, often tipping them in one-handed, which was unusual in those days, said Russell Rice, a former longtime UK sports publicist.
Mr. Hayden was UK's leading scorer as a sophomore in 1919-20, with a 10.8 average. He averaged 9.6 points as a junior. He suffered a knee injury high-jumping for the Wildcats before the 1922 basketball season, but still managed to average 5 points per game. The Wildcats were 28-14 in the three years that Mr. Hayden played at UK.
Mr. Hayden captained the 1921 team that beat Georgia 20-19 in the finals of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship in Atlanta. It was Kentucky's first significant basketball championship, and possibly the first college basketball tournament ever played.
Mr. Hayden kept a newspaper article about his performance in that game.
"Hayden, the blond Apollo, the Kentucky thoroughbred, if ever one stepped on the turf, has been a thorn in the side of Kentucky's antagonists all during the tournament," the article said.
After graduating from UK, Mr. Hayden worked one summer for Dodge in Detroit. He got homesick and returned to Kentucky. He taught and coached at Clark County High School and later got into the insurance business in Richmond. He left his insurance job to coach at Kentucky.
He had a week to prepare for his one ill-fated season as UK's basketball coach. The previous coach, Ray Eklund, "left behind a bunch of scrubs," Mr. Hayden said in 1989.
"What we had were players who had played in the YMCA and church leagues mostly," he said.
UK's starters opening night were all football players. The Cats lost at Cincinnati 48-10.
In Rice's book, Big Blue Machine, Mr. Hayden said, "I couldn't get a very good effort out of them all season. They had no incentive except against Centre, which had beaten them in football." UK swept its two games against Centre.
The UK coaching experience "wasn't that bad," Mr. Hayden said. "No one expected much, so you weren't disappointed. You didn't get too many boos."
At the time Mr. Hayden was UK's coach, the UK basketball coach's job security depended on the whims of the football coach. A new UK football coach, Harry Gamage, brought in John Mauer as basketball coach. Mr. Hayden never coached again.
He went back to the Richmond insurance firm and later worked for many years at a bank in Paris.
Mr. Hayden was born May 19, 1899, in Stanford, to Joseph Wallace Hayden, a grocer, and Annie Brown Hayden, a tutor. Mr. Hayden grew up in Paris. He first played basketball in the sixth grade. He went on to play for Paris High School. He was drafted into the Army and trained to fight in World War I, but the armistice came before he shipped out. He attended what is now Transylvania University, intending to become a minister. He transferred to UK to study industrial chemistry.
While at UK, he also played on the tennis team and threw the javelin, setting a school record with a toss of 163 feet and 3 inches. His UK basketball jersey hangs at Rupp Arena.
Mr. Hayden was married to his first wife, Mary Hardin Hayden for 67 years, until her death. He later married Edna Lytle Hayden.
Mr. Hayden once said the key to longevity was "to live to be 99, then be real careful."
Surviving are his wife, Edna Lytle Hayden; a daughter, Ann Lura Hayden of Cross Hill, S.C.; a grandson, William R. Insko Jr. of Lexington; five great-grandchildren; three stepchildren, Janie Smith, Betsy Whitt and Bill Daugherty; four step-grandchildren; and a step-great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Paris First United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. today at Hinton-Turner Funeral Home in Paris. Memorial gifts: Paris First United Methodist Church or one's favorite charity.Basil Hayden 1899-2003