If you’re like me and love a good piece of Kentucky trivia then the name Basil Hayden may ring a bell for you. The Paris, Kentucky native was born on this date in 1899 and has some facts about him that live in Kentucky history.
For one, the 5’11 Hayden was the first All-American in the history of the Kentucky basketball program. During the 1920-21 season, he scored 136 points over 14 games to help put himself into the history books forever.
Hayden did not stop there as he was named the head coach of the Cats in 1926, but lasted only one season after posting an abysmal 3-13 record. In fact, it wouldn’t be until the 1988-89 season that there would be a team in Lexington with another losing record.
While on campus, Hayden also was a member of the Kentucky Track and Field team where he specialized in the javelin throw and played for the Tennis team.
The former multi-sport athlete passed away in 2003 at the age of 103. In his obituary published by the Herald-Leader, it quotes a newspaper article from the 1921 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship that said, “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.”
Hayden will live in Kentucky legacy as his name currently does hang in the rafters at Rupp Arena. Since he didn’t play with a number, he is one of only a handful of names that stand alone.
For more from Hayden’s obituary, which is extremely well written and contains multiple stories, and more statistics from him, you can click here to visit our friends at Big Blue History who has his player page up.
In fact, if the picture at the top of the linked page looks familiar, Hayden serves as Big Blue History’s profile picture on Twitter.