Basketball icon ‘King’ Kelly Coleman dies at 80


HAZARD, Ky. (KT) – Iconic Kentucky high school basketball great “King” Kelly Coleman died Sunday night in hospice care at the age of 80.

Coleman led small-town Wayland to the State Tournament in 1956 and scored 4,337 points in an unmatched career. He scored the most points in a single season (1,734 in 1956), most field goals made in a game (31 vs. Maytown in 1956) and most field goals attempted (52 vs. Bell County in 1956).

He played college basketball at Kentucky Wesleyan College where he was a two-time All-American and was later drafted by the New York Knicks in 1960 with the 11th overall selection. He played briefly in the NBA and returned home to the mountains where he became an entrepreneur.  

Coleman was one of only 10 players in boys’ history to score 75 or more points in a game. He tallied those against Maytown and grabbed 41 rebounds.

Coleman’s 185 points are the most by any player in a single Sweet Sixteen, and his 68 points against Bell County in that tournament’s third-place game are the most ever in a state-tournament game. He scored the 68 two days after setting the previous record, 50, and was among the reasons the 1956 tournament is remembered even today.

Visitation will be at the old Wayland High School gym in Wayland from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday.

Visitation will also be at Hall Funeral Home (Martin, KY) from 10 a.m. until time of funeral service on Saturday. Funeral services will be at Hall Funeral Home at noon. Burial will follow in the Davidson Memorial Gardens at Ivel,.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Mountain Sports Hall of Fame
PO Box 349
Wayland, Ky 41666
Bluegrass Care Navigators
57 Dennis Sandlin MD Cove 
Hazard, Ky 41701


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions