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Asistant to the Vice President of Basketball Operations, Detroit Pistons

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters



Through your seven decades of dedication to the game of basketball and to athletics as a player, coach and administrator, you have exemplified the level of character prerequisite to extraordinary performance and service. Your determination and industriousness were evident from your youth, during which you lettered in five sports for Steubenville High School and worked as a caddie in your off hours. You have faced an array of racial barriers, responding with integrity, discretion and poise. You have been undaunted by segregation and discrimination, even when it meant undertaking graduate studies at a university other than your preferred institution, which denied you admittance for racial reasons. Your adaptability and your devotion to the development of young athletes were evident from your first post-graduation position as athletic director at the Center Avenue YMCA in Pittsburgh. Learning the sport of boxing, you pioneered its growth in the city, hosting amateur events at the YMCA and working with boxing legends such as Joe Louis, Billy Conn and Jack Jackson. Your entrepreneurial spirit and continued devotion to basketball led you to form the Midwest Basketball League. Immediately following the 1943 Detroit race riots, your talents as a coach and your demonstrated gifts in promoting racial harmony compelled you to accept a position as football and basketball coach at Detroit's Miller High School, where you began your illustrious career in the Public School League. Your character and success earned you well-deserved accolades and the notice of collegiate athletic directors, leading to your appointment as the first black head coach at the Division I level at Illinois State University. You are well noted for your role in the development of current Detroit Pistons head coach Doug Collins, who flourished under your leadership during his years at Illinois State. In your work with the Detroit Pistons on college scouting, special assignments and personnel decisions, you have been instrumental in the success of a team that won back-to-back world championships. Your personal awards include being inducted into seven Halls of Fame and earning the highly-coveted John W. Bunn award from the James Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In recognition of you extraordinary contributions to athletics, to the development of countless individuals, and to the promotion of interracial harmony, the University of Detroit Mercy is pleased to award you an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree. Commencement, University of Detroit Mercy, May 10, 1997.

University of Detroit Mercy

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