Cairo native Ken Trickey dies Dec. 4 in Tulsa, Okla.

Hall of Fame basketball coach

Ken Trickey, a graduate of Cairo High School who went on to become a legendary college basketball coach, died Tuesday morning, Dec. 4. He was 79. Mr. Trickey died at his home in Tulsa, Okla.

Mr. Trickey had served as head coach of the men's basketball team at Oral Roberts University, at ORU, in Tulsa.

The media relations department at ORU shared the followed information about Mr. Trickey:

Trickey spent two stints (1969-74, 1987-93) leading the men's basketball program, coaching for a total of 11 years and left in 1993 as the winningest coach in school history, having since been passed by current head coach Scott Sutton.

In his first five years, Trickey led the then Titans to three postseason appearances, including a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1974. Trickey took over a 14-10 team and in his first year led ORU to a 27-4 record.

He posted at least 20 wins in each of his first five seasons and finished his career with a 214-116 (0.648) record.

Trickey was elected into the ORU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the first coach inducted.

He coached six All-Americans at ORU, including Hall of Famers Richard Fuqua and Anthony Roberts, and had 10 players drafted by the NBA or ABA.

ORU president Dr. Mark Rutland issued the following statement:

"Coach Trickey was a great part of ORU's history. He created an exciting and fun basketball program that competed at the highest level, while maintaining our integrity and mission. Thanks to his work ORU became known throughout the nation. The ORU community is praying for the Trickey family."

ORU director of athletics Mike Carter said:

"Ken Trickey was a pioneer in the industry in terms of offensive basketball. He brought significant recognition to the university because of his success at ORU, and his program put ORU athletics on the national map in the 1970's. We are grateful for his significant contributions to ORU athletics and will miss him."

ORU men's basketball coach Scott Sutton said:

"I was saddened to hear about Coach Trickey's passing. He was so supportive of me and my time here.

"When you talk about the history of ORU athletics, the first person you think of is Ken Trickey and what he meant, not only to the men's basketball program, but the athletics department in general. "His success in such a short period of time was remarkable. To take a team that is less than 10 years in existence and take them to within a game of the final four is amazing."

The website for the Nashville Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, Tenn., posted Mr. Trickey's obituary.

He was born in 1933 in Cape Girardeau. He grew up and graduated from high school in Cairo.

He played basketball at Middle Tennessee State College, where he was an Ohio Valley All-Conference player for three years, and is still one of the top 10 scorers for Middle Tennessee, and was elected to the university's sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Trickey served in the U.S. Army Armored Division at Fort Knox, Ky.,  and was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant in 1958.

He served as men's high school basketball coach at Tullahoma, Tenn., and Cairo High School before returning to Middle Tennessee to be the assistant men's basketball coach and head baseball coach.

In 1964, he was promoted to head basketball coach, where he recruited the first African American athletes to play basketball at Middle Tennessee during the height of the civil rights movement in the south.

He believed sincerely that everyone had a right to be able to participate at any school in any sport.

In 1969, Mr. Trickey was hired by Oral Roberts to coach the ORU basketball team.

He took ORU to the NCAA Final Eight as an independent in 1974.

His ORU teams during that time also led the nation in scoring and made two NIT appearances in New York City.

Upon leaving ORU in 1974, Mr. Trickey coached at Colorado State University, Iowa State University, Claremore Junior College, Oklahoma City University, and Oklahoma Junior College before returning to ORU, where he finished his coaching career in 1993.

During the early 2000s, Mr. Trickey became a supervisor/evaluator of officials for the Big 12 Conference until 2006.

In 2010, he was inducted into the Oral Roberts University Sports Hall of Fame.

Upon his retirement, Ken enjoyed spending time with his family and loved taking care of rescue dogs.

Mr. Trickey is survived by his wife, Judy Wyatt Trickey of Tulsa, Okla.; a son, Ken Trickey Jr. and wife Pam Trickey of Evansville, Ind.;  granddaughters, Caytlyn Trickey and Paige Trickey of Evansville, Ind.; a daughter, Kay Herring and husband, Jeff of Nashville, Tenn.; a grandson, Jordan and granddaughters, Kendal and Kelsey Kay Herring of Nashville, Tenn.

Mr. Trickey's first wife, Peggye Enlow of Tulsa, has remained a close friend throughout the years of Ken and Judy.

Memorials in his honor can be made to the Humane Society or to a local animal shelter.

The Tulsa, Okla., World newspaper, in an article which was posted on its website, described Mr. Trickey  as "one of the most influential and colorful characters in this state's basketball history."

During a 2008 interview, Trickey said he had the time of his life at ORU.

"It was just unbelievable," he said.

Former Tulsa World sports editor Bill Connors once wrote that ORU's surge inspired Tulsa, Arkansas, OU and OSU to commit to better things.

"I'm not sure Ken Trickey was ever given the credit for the impact he had on basketball in the state of Oklahoma," former ORU and Tulsa coach Ken Hayes said.


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