One of the true legendary names in Hilltopper Basketball in the 1960s, Wayne Chapman arrived on the Hill in the Fall of 1965 after playing his freshmen year at the University of kentucky. Feeling out of place in Lexington and longing to be closer to his native Owensboro, Chapman made the decision to transfer to Western and become a part of Coach John Oldham’s soon-to-be powerhouse Hilltopper squads of the mid-60s.
The 6′ 6″ Daviess County High product fit right in on the Hill and averaged 13.3 points per game as a sophomore while helping lead the Toppers to a 25-3 record in the 1965-66 season. Only the infamous jump ball call in the 1966 NCAA Tournament game versus Michigan kept Chapman and the Toppers from a likely chance at the 1966 NCAA championship.
The following season saw Chapman continue to improve his game as he finished second on the team in scoring at 15.4 ppg behind only first team All-American Clem Haskins’ 22.6 ppg average. Finishing with a 23-2 regular season record and a national ranking as high as #6 in the nation, the Toppers were once again considered a real threat to claim the national championship.
However, the broken wrist suffered by Haskins late in the season proved to be too much to overcome and the Toppers fell to eventual national runner-up Dayton 69-67 in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky. The absence of Haskins and Dwight Smith the following season left huge holes to fill in the Hilltopper lineup and Chapman did his part to compensate as he averaged a career best 20.8 ppg. However, despite a successful season and a final record of 18-7, three nailbiting conferences losses prevented the Toppers from claiming the OVC title for the third consecutive year. For his efforts however, Chapman was honored as the OVC player-of-the-year.
With his college career over Chapman was soon drafted in the first round by the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels where he spent two seasons before being traded to the Denver Rockets and then later to the Indiana Pacers. Averaging over 8 ppg his second and third seasons in the ABA Chapman was developing into a solid pro player. However, a serious back injury during his fourth season cut his playing career short and forced him into early retirement.
A short time thereafter he turned to coaching and began his career as an assistant at his alma mater Daviess County High in 1972. After a couple of more stints at other high schools Chapman eventually landed a coaching job at Kentucky Wesleyan College in 1980 where later as the head coach he led the Panthers to the 1987 and 1990 Division II national championships. After retiring from coaching after the 1990 season, Chapman spent time as an NBA scout and today lives in Lexington, Ky. where he works in sales for a large hotel. Chapman’s impact is still seen today in the Hilltopper record books where he his career scoring average of 16.3 ppg still ranks as the 10th best in school history and his career point total of 1,292 still places him at #18 on the all-time scoring list at WKU.
In 2004, Wayne Chapman was inducted the WKU Athletics Hall of Fame. This interview was conducted on February 21, 2006.
HH: Originally you’re from Owensboro, right?
WC: That’s correct.
HH: When did you really start playing basketball?
WC: I started back when I was four or five years old playing in my backyard with my older brother and his friends….and never put one down after that.
HH: And you played high school at Daviess Co. High and I know you were all-state as a senior right?
HH: Now coming out of high school I know you went to uk to start with. What all schools were recruiting you the heaviest coming out of high school?
WC: Well, actually back then there wasn’t a whole lot of recruiting going on as far as a lot of different colleges going after players period….generally they pretty much stayed in their own areas. Obviously Vanderbilt had contacted me and kentucky and Western and that was basically about it to be honest with you.
HH: So did you have much knowledge of Western at that time, did you come to any games or anything growing up?
WC: The main thing I knew about Western at that time was that Bobby Rascoe graduated from my high school, he graduated from Daviess County. He was a few years older than I was and I knew he went to Western and had a great career up there. So I knew about Western from that aspect. Back then you just played ball because you loved it and if you got an education out of it that was so much better because I don’t think anybody ever back then played basketball just to go to college to play basketball. It’s just the way it was.
HH: So what initially made you choose kentucky over Western?
WC: Well, I really don’t know. The main thing was obviously they first offered me the scholarship. And I don’t really know if I even got a scholarship offer from Western out of high school. Then when I got there I was seventeen years old and was playing with a great bunch of players….Louie Dampier and Pat Riley…we had a great freshman team. All of us averaged over 20 points per game and we averaged 100 points a game as a freshman team. We scored 1,600 points in 16 games. But I just felt like I was sitting on the other side of the world ’cause back then you didn’t have interstates, you know, it took a long time to get from Owensboro up to Lexington and in the meantime my high school coach Buck Sydnor had gone from high school to John Oldham’s assistant there at Western and he was somebody I felt comfortable with so one thing led to another and I ended up transferring after my freshman year closer to home.
HH: Well, I know you never played for either one but I know you were around Coach Diddle and rupp both. What did you think about the both of them, what was the biggest difference between those two coaches do you think?
WC: You know, at 17 years old I didn’t pay much attention to the differences between those coaches. I just looked at them as any other coach from the stand point if the coach told you to do something that’s what you did. There was no second-guessing the coach back in those days. I know that they both carried themselves….rupp was more of a “Me, Me” type of person and Uncle Ed seemed like he genuinely cared about the players and the university. And that was the biggest difference I could see in both of those guys…..just the way they approached the game. Like I said, Uncle Ed wanted to do it for the glory of Western and his players and adolph gave the impression anyway that he wanted to do it for himself.
HH: I guess you knew a lot of the players at Western….Clem and Dwight and those guys before you came here?
WC: Oh yeah, we all graduated from high school together and played in the Kentucky All-Star games, the East-West game back then. And so yeah, we were all quite familiar with each other. There was another guy named Pearl Hicks down there that played in the all-star game with us….we all got out of school at the same time. And then of course I got to know Greg (Smith) after I got there because he and I ended up graduating together even though he was a year behind us age-wise. So yeah, we knew each other quite well before we even got there. Another kid named Joe Mac Hill from Beaver Dam, his parents and my parents were family friends. So there was a lot of connections down there.
HH: So you just fit right in.
WC: Yeah, like I never missed a beat.
HH: What was it like playing for Coach Oldham?
WC: Well, it was an education from a standpoint that I’ve never seen a coach, any coach, that I’ve ever had or coached against that controlled their emotions the way that Coach Oldham did. He was very even-keeled from the get-go no matter what the situation was in the ball game. He was just matter-of-fact…of course probably knowing more about coaching now than I did then, he was probably anything but that on the inside but that was the facade that he always carried. You always felt like he was in control, that he knew what was going on. Therefore it made the rest of the ballclub remain calm when we faced adversity.
HH: Did he have a big influence on you later on in your coaching career?
WC: Well, I think he had a large part of influence on my career but you know there was Buck Sydnor, who was my high school coach, and Woody Crum who came in to coach after Buck left and went to Bowling Green…..so I was fortunate to play under all three of those guys and learn quite a bit from all three of them.
HH: Your first season that you played varsity was 1965-66. Of course that was one of our best teams ever. As far as the regular season, what stands out to you, any certain games or moments?
WC: You know, really we played to win basketball games and we played as a team and so we just went into a ballgame wanting to win….obviously the only thing that sticks out in my mind that entire year was losing to Michigan on a jumpball call in Iowa City and it still sticks in my craw today. It’s one of those situations where I think if that call hadn’t of been made we would have beaten the runts the next night and they would have never played Texas Western. And I think that one call kept us from winning a national championship.
HH: The first game you played in the tournament that year was against Loyola. I know they were ranked really high….
WC: Yeah, we played them at Kent St.
HH: And you pretty much blew those guys out of the gym.
WC: Yeah, Dwight Smith just had an outstanding game up there. I think everybody on our ballclub, if they haven’t told you, probably feel the way that I do about Dwight. He was my roommate and he was just the best athlete and the best basketball player we had. He was better than all of us and it’s a shame that he never got to reach his potential…..but he certainly took over that ballgame…from start to finish.
HH: I guess most people say really his biggest strength was his defense?
WC: Yeah, he just had a great body, he could rebound with anybody. He could shoot with range, he could take it to the hole but after saying all that there’s nobody that you couldn’t put Dwight on say, “Stop him,” and he’d stop him. We had others on the team that were offensive-minded, like myself and Clem….but he just did what he had to do and he didn’t care who scored the points he just did whatever he had to do and that was nine times out of ten stopping the other team’s best player.
HH: Most people say he would have been the best professional player.
WC: No question about it, no question about it.
HH: Steve Cunningham compared him to Dennis Johnson who played for the Celtics.
WC: Yeah, he was a lot like Dennis except he was a much better athlete than Dennis. Dennis was a good, solid basketball player and they even did some things alike on the floor but Dwight was just a super, super athlete as far as his quickness, leaping ability and that sort of thing. He was just cat-quick to be 6′ 4″ 210 pounds or whatever he was.
HH: Now during the Michigan game…..at one point…….let’s see, I’m trying to think….you had the ball……
WC: You’re trying to be nice, I know what you’re trying to do (laughs). I stole the ball at midcourt and got fouled and went to the freethrow line for a bonus and I missed it after a timeout and that was the missed free throw that led to the jumpball really.
HH: What I was going to ask you actually was didn’t he foul you intentionally, hit you across the mouth or something?
WC: Yeah, Oliver Darden, Ollie Darden. I was heading away and he wanted to make sure that I didn’t get a breakaway and he just swung and kind of scratched me across the face with a finger in the eye and I just never……but that wasn’t the reason I missed that free throw (laughs) I short-armed it, believe me.
HH: That should have been an intentional foul though shouldn’t it?
WC: Yeah, it could have very easily have been called an intentional foul and two shots but they didn’t make that call either…..so that gave them an opportuntity then to make the call that actually cost us then….
HH: What do you think about that call? I mean it’s never been called. Do you think there was something else behind it? You almost think there’s gotta be.
WC: Well, the only thing I know……with me making the freethrow and us doing a couple of things different we should have never been put in that position, but with all that said, we were in that position….and they called the jumpball and then Michigan called timeout. The referee was a Big Ten official, his name was Honzo. And after the timeout as soon as that ball left his hand he blew his whistle. I mean he threw the ball up and blew the whistle at basically at the same time. And it’s clear that he didn’t push Cazzie at all and Cazzie went down and made two freethrows and we still had a shot at it and I think Clem bounced a 10 or 12 footer off or a 15-footer, something like that…..but we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position but whether there was anything behind it or not, whether the official just made up his own mind what he was going to do…….it was certainly weird to say the least.
HH: I know after the game you guys went back to the locker room and found out you had been robbed too right?
WC: (Laughs) Yeah well, when it goes bad it goes bad I guess. Back then though I guarantee they didn’t get much, we didn’t have much (laughs).
HH: I know Steve Cunningham said that the day after the game you were having a birthday party for Coach Diddle in the motel room and rupp kind of barged in uninvited and kind of ruined everything. Do you remember that?
WC: It was actually kind of funny. I know Coach Diddle was having a birthday party and I’ll never forget it, we were sitting there at the table and I was sitting next to Uncle Ed and everybody got up and was applauding and then rupp walked in. And I was getting ready to get up and (Laughs) Diddle grabbed my arm and said, “Sit down, you don’t like that son of a bitch any better than I do.” (Laughs) So I sat down. But yeah, that’s all I remember about it. Uncle Ed wasn’t going to stand up that’s for sure.
HH: I know what Steve (Cunningham) said, and Billy Reed, he was there too. They said when he came in that everything just kind of stopped and rupp sort of took over and you could tell there was a lot of tension in the room because of what happened in the Michigan game and plus he came in uninvited and sort of took over. He said you could tell there was no love lost between them.
WC: Oh no, there was never any love lost between them. There was a greatest story I ever heard, before I ever got there….Western was on its way back from Eastern one time…..of course we all rode those old Fuqua buses and Joe Fuqua drove them. So there was two heaters, a front heater and a back heater and it would get so hot back there that when you wanted heat you’d say, “Heat on,” and when you wanted to cool down a little bit you’d say, “Heat off.” And so they got beat and Uncle Ed was in the front of the bus obviously and they’d go, “heat on, heat off, heat on, heat off,” all the way back. Finally they said he got up when they got back in Bowling Green with tears his eyes and said (Imitating Diddle), “G-Damn boys, I know you’re mad at me and I know you probably don’t like me but you didn’t have to keep calling me Adolph all the way back.” (Laughs) He thought they were saying “Adolph” instead of “heat off.” He was a character, he was certainly that.
HH: Do you remember much about that Dayton game, the consolation game?
WC: No, other than we beat ‘em. (laughs) That’s about all. I think shortly thereafter they did away with consolation games because it was just not a good time to play basketball after getting that far. I don’t know when they did away with consolation games to be honest with you but I know they were no fun to play. But, there again, it showed the character that we had on that ballclub and it also showed the leadership of Coach Oldham to come back and take pride in winning that ballgame.
HH: Well, after that season you lost Steve Cunningham which was a very big loss for the team going into the next season.
WC: Oh yeah. But we were basically the same team. We had some players that alternated in there with Norm Weaver and Pearl Hicks and then we kind of changed it around a little bit and I moved down to the forward spot a little bit and we moved a couple of guards like Mike Fawcett and Butch Kaufman in and they played some more at the guard spot….so we did a good job of patching up our personnel to compensate for Steve. And it was a big hole in the lineup because we knew he was going to get us twelve points and ten rebounds everytime he walked out. He was a very consistent basketball player. The next year I remember we had great expectations and we opened up, I believe it was against Vanderbilt at home and they beat us. I think Jerry Southwood or somebody, I can’t think of his name, shot 21 free throws against us or something. Anyway, that was the last game we lost for 20-something ballgames I guess?
HH: Looking at it here…..until the Murray State game at Murray on Feb. 25. That was the next game you lost.
WC: Yeah, yeah. That was the year, depending on the time of the week it was, it was either us or UCLA that had the longest winning streak in the nation. I think we played Saturdays and Mondays or something like that, I can’t remember exactly. But anyway, they played like Thursday and Saturdays or something. So depending on which day of the week it was it differed on who had the longest winning streak going. And then of course we lost again to Murray and….
HH: Of course you lost Clem too in the first Murray game….
WC: Yeah, and we went undefeated the year before in the OVC and we would have done it again if Clem hadn’t broken his navicular bone in his wrist. But anyway, he bounced back and started playing again just before the tournament and played with a soft cast on his arm….or we could have gone very far that year too but we got beat on a buzzerbeater by Dayton, by a kid named Bobby Joe Hooper. And actually that was here in Lexington at Memorial Coliseum.
HH: And Dayton went on to be runners-up that year….
WC: A cinderella team that year. They went all the way and got beat by UCLA in the finals.
HH: You gotta think with Clem that you guys would have been there.
WC: Yeah, there was two years in a row we had a great shot. We sure did, sure did. I guess you could say we had a couple of bad breaks, the first year was the bad call and the next year was Clem breaking his wrist.
HH: Do you remember very much about the Dayton game that you lost? I know Clem had a real bad shooting night because of the wrist and everything.
WC: Yeah. We played a heckuva ballgame, we played very, very hard and very, very well and as I said, we had the game won and I think Bobby hit a 40-footer or something like that. And you know I can’t even recall if that put us into overtime or whether he beat us….I just know that they ended up beating us. But you know, the one rivalry that I remember down there more than anything is Dayton. I mean, we played more close games and more overtime games with Dayton my three years down there than any other school I’ve ever seen. I mean if you just go back and look at the records, the scores of the games from ’65-’68 of the Dayton -Western games, there were some great, great basketball games. So, that’s the one memory that really sticks in my mind, much more than any other rivalries in the OVC.
HH: I know that series went back a long ways too. I know Tom Marshall and all those guys used to have big games with Dayton.
WC: Yeah. And they (Dayton) had some great players…Don May and Henry Finkel, Bobby Joe Hooper. They had a great team up there too with Don Donoher coaching. So that series with that team really sticks out in my mind during my college career down there.
HH: Do you remember very much about Mike Redd and his brother Robert Redd? They were the first two black players to actually sign with Western then they decided to leave before their freshman year.
WC: Well Mike ended up going to Wesleyan where I ended up coaching later. He was just a tremendous basketball player. I remember in the all-star practice we were all on the West squad. It was Clem, myself, Dwight, Charlie Taylor, Mike Redd…..we were all on the same team. And we were up here running our little three man drill with the ball in the middle of the floor and the two wings and we were going down the floor and he (Redd) just throws the ball off the backboard and goes up and slams it. And I mean we all just stopped…Clem, Dwight, all of us ’cause none of us even thought about dunking the ball. I mean, it was just something you didn’t really do. It just never entered our mind to do it. I think we damn near tore down the rims the rest of that practice (Laughs) because we all could do it, we just never thought about doing it. (Laughs) And he did, he just threw it off the board and went up and….I don’t know if he did it backwards or how he did it, but he just slammed it. Of course he was only about 6′ 3″. But it did, it just stopped practice. Everybody was kind of dumbfounded there for a second and then we started yelling and screaming and took off. But that was the first time that I’d really realized that he was quite an athlete. But I think he ended up playing a year or two years down at Ky. Wesleyan. But he was a heckuva basketball player I know that.
HH: Mike’s brother Robert went on to play at Marshall after him and Mike decided to leave Western but if those guys had stayed at Western and been on your teams that would have been incredible.
WC: Oh yeah. Was Robert in the same class as Mike?
HH: Yeah, actually he had been in the Marines and when he came out of the Marines he signed with Western along with Mike.
WC: Okay, I knew he didn’t play in any all-star games. I just knew Mike had a brother but I didn’t know anything about him. I just knew that they said he was a great basketball player.
HH: Well, after the ’67 season it was a couple of months later that the accident with Dwight happened and I know that really had to tear you up….
WC: Yeah, that was a shame. By that time I had already gotten married and he and I were no longer roommates but obviously we’d spent a couple of years together….I think it was Mother’s Day weekend and he and Kay and Greg had gone home to spend the weekend with their parents and it had just been raining unbelievably for what seemed like a month….and so my wife and I were out at her aunt’s house there in Bowling Green having dinner and the phone rang and they told us what happened. And I just figured somebody was playing a joke on us or something and of course it dawned on me they weren’t. And that was….tough on everybody…..but it wasn’t tougher on anybody than it was on Greg. I don’t know how he ever got through that….but he did. He was very tough-minded and worked his way through it. Everybody thinks about Dwight but you know, Kay Sheryl lost her life in that car wreck too. Then the driver coming up behind them broke the rear window and pulled Greg out. He was thrown up in the air pocket in the back of the car. So, it was quite a series of events that saved his life.
HH: Well, the next season you were the leading scorer at around 21 points per game…..and of course losing Clem and Dwight you lost quite a bit off the team but you still had a good year, you were 18-7.
WC: Actually, it was really funny. We started off just outstanding….I think we got a big head or something. We had gone to California and won the Santa Clara Cable Car Classic and beaten Santa Clara and San Francisco. Then we stopped back by in Dallas and we beat Indiana and California. Then it was time for Christmas break and we came back and lost our first three OVC games (Laughs). To be honest though, it was really funny because we had a great freshman class that was ineligible with Perry, Mac and all those guys and everybody was saying, “Well, we’re going to alright this year but just wait till next year.” So everybody’s great expectations were really already rising there with that group. Actually I think our record ended up better than their record the next year. But after that they really took off and showed their talent. But they had a lot of pressure on them because of that. I mean they had high expectations from the time they stepped on campus and they handled it well too. But after their sophomore year it was hard holding them.
HH: Now did you scrimmage those guys much?
WC: I don’t recall scrimmaging much but I know we played one on one with them after practice and we tried to teach them as much as we could with the knowledge of having to go through an OVC schedule and so forth. That’s what people don’t understand, no matter how good you are to go through the same schedule year in and year out with the same coaches and the same players knowing exactly how you do it, it’s tough to get through a conference schedule, no matter where it is. It’s a different animal when you go on the road and I’m sure they found that out the next year. So we didn’t do a very good job of teaching them I guess. (Laughs)
HH: After that season you got drafted by the Colonels…
WC: That’s correct. Wes (Unseld) was their number one pick and I was their number two pick. I played two years with them then I was traded to Denver and played a few months out there and then was traded back to the Pacers and played a year and half with them and injured my back halfway through the season and just never….back then they didn’t do surgeries like they do now. They can operate on a disc now and have somebody back playing in six weeks and we couldn’t do that back then. So it was a lot of fun and I had a tremendous time doing it. It was a great way to finish out your basketball playing career before you got down to making a real living.
HH: What kind of money did players make then in the pros?
WC: Well, it was a lot of money back then. I had no idea I was going to be playing pro ball. My junior year see, I was eligible for the draft because it was my fourth year in school. And I was drafted by the 76ers I think in the 5th or 6th round, something like that. And just had no intentions of going out early or anything, so the next year I was drafted by the ABA after my senior year as the second choice of their draft. And I think I ended up being drafted by the Bullets when the NBA draft came around but I had already signed with the ABA so it didn’t make any difference. When I went in I set it as a goal…..because I knew how good Clem was and I just always thought he was so much better than I was….and I pretty well knew what he was making and everything from what people had told me and Coach Oldham got a lawyer there in town to work with us, I can’t remember the guy’s name right now, and I remember he got an offer from the Colonels and he came over to me and he said, “You know, this is the same thing Clem signed for in Chicago.” And I said, “If that’s what Clem got, sure I’ll sign.” (Laughs). I think it was $25,000 a year.
HH: That was pretty good money back then.
WC: It was damn good money back then. I thought I was going to retire after that. (Laughs) And what was funny about it, I made $25,000 my rookie season and I was one of the highest paid players on the Kentucky Colonels. And four years later I made $35,000 playing for the Pacers and I was one of the lowest paid players on the Pacers. That’s how the salaries spiraled in that four year period competing against the NBA.
HH: Well, after you got through with your pro career did you go right into coaching?
WC: Yeah, actually I did, I started as an assistant coach at Daviess County High School in 1972 and I stayed there as an assistant coach for one year and became the head coach of Apollo High School. It was a brand new school there in Owensboro and it was the first time they had had seniors. They had played a schedule the year before under another coach but they had only juniors. Then by the time I got there it was their first senior class. And I was there for five years and then decided I wanted to do somthing besides coach. I don’t know how stupid I could have been but I ended up working with the State Department for about six months in vocational education and then got back in coaching at Hancock County that next spring and stayed there for two years and then by that time it was 1980 and I went to work with Mike Polio over at Kentucky Wesleyan College and was there until 1990 when I retired.
HH: Now, you won two national championships as coach there is that right?
WC: Yes, 1987 and 1990…..the last game I ever coached.
HH: Another thing I wanted to ask you…..it’s been about 20 years now, Rex was one of the top players in the country and there was a big recruiting battle for him…..I know it was always said that it came down between kentucky, and Western and Louisville. I know I speak for every Western fan out there that it broke my heart….especially with him going to uk. It just made me sick. How close did he come to coming to Western?
WC: The main thing that Western had going for them at that time was the fact that Clem was there. And he certainly respected Clem an awful lot. And he was good friends with Clemette and that was the connection he had at Western. I didn’t try to push him for loyalty or anything. I said you’re going to have to make up your own mind. I know Clem tried very hard to convince him that Western was where he needed to go…..he grew up a Louisville fan and so Louisville really had their foot in the door and a leg up. Then of course they had the coaching change at kentucky with Joe B. who retired that year and they brought in Eddie Sutton. And Eddie had a good record of coaching big guards from the time he was at Arkansas and they came in late and made a big push and Rex made up his mind that’s where he wanted to go. I think what people don’t understand…..a team that was really in there close to him was Georgia Tech with Bobby Cremins. He really, really liked Bobby Cremins. So, they had a real shot at getting him there for a while.
HH: Rex’s freshman year would have been our 1986-’87 team and that team was better than either one of the teams that Rex played on at kentucky……
WC: Yeah, yeah….
HH: ….And if you add him into the mix too….that was already a Final Four caliber team we had…
WC: Yeah, they ended up going…..how far did they go?
HH: They got beat by Syracause at Syracuse in the second round.
WC: Yeah, yeah. Give me the names of those players again….
HH: Tellis Frank, Clarence Martin, Kannard Johnson, Brett McNeal…..
WC: But you know it’s very funny how things happen. At the time Rex wasn’t the most physically mature kid when he came out of high school into college because he was thin but he had some talent and he played but things just fell into place for him at kentucky that year because Winston Bennett went down with an injury and they weren’t very deep, so they ended up basically running a three guard lineup that year with Davender and Blackmon. And even if he had gone to Western I don’t know if things would have worked out any better for him….it might have worked out better for Western. One of the biggest regrets I have obviously is he couldn’t finish four years of college and I think Rex will tell you that’s a big regret of his too. But as things turned out….circumstances here at kentucky dictated that the best thing for him to do was leave and go in the pros. And it’s really interesting….if he had gone to another school would that have ever happened, I don’t know. Timing has a lot to do with it.
HH: You gotta think that if he had signed with Western that Clem might have stayed around too instead of leaving for Minnesota when he did….
WC: Well, that’s true…..you never know.
HH: Then when we hired Murray Arnold when Clem left that really hurt us big time….
WC: Oh God. I won’t say anything about their coaching decisions up there for a while (Laughs).
HH: I know you were interested in the head coaching job here a couple of times weren’t you?
WC: Yeah, I was. And for the most part never even got an interview. I never could figure that out.
HH: Do you still keep up with Western very much now, are you able to?
WC: Not as much as I’d like to. I’m up here in Lexington and you’ve gotta kill somebody before you make the newspaper up here if you’re from Western Kentucky….not just Bowling Green, I mean anywhere in Western Kentucky (Laughs). So we get the linescores and I keep up with those and so forth. I know Darrin is doing a great job down there with them. I know they’re playing awfully well this year.
HH: Are you still working as an NBA scout?
WC: Not as much any more. Maybe when somebody calls and just they can’t get to the game or something, but I’m not doing it full-time any more. I’m working at the Crowne Plaza up here in Lexington as the associate director of sales.
HH: I don’t guess you’ve seen Courtney Lee or Anthony Winchester enough to have many thoughts about them?
WC: No, I saw them on tv one night and the Lee kid can play just about any place he wants to play. He’s got a lot of talent.
HH: I know there’s a lot of scouts here watching him already.
WC: I’m sure they are.
HH: I was just wondering what chance you thought he might have to go in the first round?
WC: Like I said, I’ve seen him play once. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and I know that the scouts I’ve talked to have high opinions of him. There again, when the draft comes around you never know what trades are going to take place, who’s going to pick when, what their needs are going to be, you know. There’s so many things that can change. Sometimes talent has very little to do with it…..leverage and timing has more to do with it than anything I think sometimes.
HH: Well, overall do you have any regrets about choosing Western?
WC: Do I??? NO, IT WAS A GREAT DECISION.
HH: You still consider yourself a big Hilltopper?
WC: Oh yeah. I consider myself a Hilltopper for life. We obviously had a great freshman team here at uk but the decision I made to come to Western was an immature one on my part from the standpoint that I was homesick….I just wanted to be closer to home….but it turned out to be the best decision I ever made in my life because I ended up playing on three great basketball teams. In fact, other than rupp’s runts we probably had….you look at the two years other than rupps’ runts when I was down there and all three years were much better than the three years they had. So from that standpoint it was a great move. Of course I ended up meeting my wife there, Laura. It was just a great move for me. I just really have a lot of fond memories about Western and Bowling Green.
HH: Does it kind of bug you a little bit seeing this movie, “Glory Road,” knowing that you guys should have stopped that?
WC: People ask me if I’ve seen it. And I say, “Why would I want to see it, I lived it.” I know what went on back then. I knew all about it. I played with all of those players. I just don’t want to see it again (Laughs). First of all there wouldn’t even be a movie if we hadn’t gotten screwed on a jump ball call (Laughs). They (uk) would have never beaten us. They wouldn’t have either.
HH: Steve Cunningham talked about watching the game between Texas Western and uk and he said that one thing that stood out to him was how Bobby Joe Hill stole the ball from uk’s guards so much and said they would have never done that with Dwight and Clem.
WC: Good Lord, no. Good Lord, No. In fact, I don’t ever remember anybody ever stealing the ball from Dwight.
HH: Do you remember watching that game?
WC: No, I don’t even think I watched it to be honest with you. I was just sick, I don’t even think I watched the game. Of course I saw some replays and things.
HH: I asked Steve who he was pulling for and his quote was, “I hated the Bluegrass Runts and even more I hated being cheated out of the chance of our lifetime.”
HH: Well, I guess that’s all have to ask you about right now. Thanks for talking to me.
WC: Alright then, have a good night.