John B. McLendon

Enshrined 1979
Hiawatha, KS
April 5, 1915 - October 8, 1999


With an engaging personality and pleasant demeanor, an extraordinary knowledge of basketball history, and a coaching resume that made many in the profession envious, John McLendon was one of the game's leading ambassadors for more than 60 years. McLendon, who learned basketball from James Naismith as an undergraduate at Kansas, is the first coach in history to win three consecutive national titles. McLendon's teams featured superior conditioning, a patented fast break offense, and an aggressive in-your-face defensive attitude. A spokesman for heightened awareness of basketball at all-black colleges, McLendon also helped initiate an era of integrated basketball. McLendon's well-rounded coaching background included positions at the collegiate, AAU, and professional level.

Career Highlights

NAIA championship with Tennessee State, 1957, 1958, 1959
NAIA Coach of the Year, 1958
Eight CIAA championships, 1941, 1943-44, 1946-47, 1949-50, 1952
First African-American professional basketball coach with Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League, 1961