51 Bob Brannum

Bob Brannum
Hometown (Last School)
Winfield, KS (High)
1943-44, 1946-47
May 28, 1925

Obituary – Robert W. Brannum, ex-UK basketball player, Lexington Herald-Leader (February 8, 2005) by Mark Pratt (AP)


BOSTON – Robert W. Brannum, a standout basketball player at the University of who went on to play four seasons for the Boston Celtics, has died after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 78.

Mr. Brannum, who coached basketball at Brandeis University in Massachusetts from 1970 until his retirement in 1986, died early Saturday morning at his home in Marshfield, Mass., said his daughter, Debbie Brannum.

“He felt that he’d had a wonderful life and was ready to go,” she said yesterday.

“He said, ‘I’ve done everything I wanted to do. How many people can say that?'”

The 6-foot-5 Brannum, a Winfield, Kan., native, was a punishing inside basketball player who averaged 12 points per game for under Coach in 1944 to earn consensus All-America honors.

His career was interrupted by two years in the Army during World War II. After that, he went back to Kentucky before transferring to University. He played minor league basketball in Sheboygan, Wis., before starting a four-season career with the Celtics in 1951.

Playing on teams with Bill Sharman, Bob Cousy and Ed Macauley, Brannum came off the bench and averaged 6.2 points in his career, earning the reputation as a bruiser.

“A boring game was when Daddy didn’t get into a fight, and I was thrilled when he’d get in a fight,” his daughter said. “I’d love it when he’d come home with stitches in his forehead.”

Mr. Brannum was an avid golfer who coached at Brandeis and Norwich (Vt.) University and was the former golf pro at the Barre (Vt.) Country Club. He also coached basketball and soccer at Kenyon (Ohio) College.

Mr. Brannum is still the winningest coach in Brandeis history with 204 wins and three Division III tournament appearances.

Mr. Brannum is survived by his wife, Harriet, whom he met when they were 13; sons James and Daniel of Marshfield, and William of Tequesta, Fla.; daughters Deborah of Lake Worth, Fla., Dorcas Hanna of Boonton, N.J., and Katherine of Jupiter, Fla.; brother Paul Brannum; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday at Marshfield United Methodist Church.

Article by Alex Bower, Lexington Leader (January 11, 1944)

IF THERE’S ANY CONSOLATION in learning that the headsman’s ax is single-edged and not double-bitted, the more sanguine among the University of Kentucky’s remaining basketball opponents can take cheer at the news that Clarence Brannum won’t be playing with the Wildcats this season. Clarence, identical twin brother to Bob Brannum, the Blue team’s prize freshman center, has returned to his home to convalesce from typhus. That’s a break for the opposition, although some coaches may assert that there’s no difference between playing against a guy with typhus and playing against one who averages almost 14 points a game.

Anyhow, Clarence, who reported for duty at U. K. at the beginning of the second academic quarter, has decided to rest up until next fall, when he hopes to be completely recovered from his illness. He contracted typhus while working in an airplane factory last summer and for a time was partially paralyzed. When he turned out for basketball at the University he discovered that his legs didn’t have their accustomed springiness, and decided to return home until completely recovered, which probably means that he’ll be back here in September.

WHEN SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE COACHES read in the papers along about mid-year that Bob Brannum has been drafted for military service, and then discover next season that they’re playing his twin, they probably will accuse of doing something with mirrors, but it will be strictly legitimate. The boys will be 18 years old in May and Bob probably will be taken into the Army, but there’s a chance that Clarence will be passed over because of having had typhus. In that event he’ll return to the University and the name Brannum still will figure in Wildcat scoring.

If the war doesn’t last too long, both of the kids may appear in the Wildcat lineup at the same time, Clarence at guard and Bob at center. In that event Rupp probably will shelve his pivot offense and start using a round-robin attack, shuttling Brannums around the floor so fast that the opposition will get seasick.

As we all know, Bob’s specialties are pivot shots and rebounds, along with some very deliberate and very effective foul shooting. Clarence likes to plant himself from 20 to 30 feet away from the basket and drop ’em in like a mortar. It would seem that the only defense against such a combination would be to pick up your marbles and go home.

Kansas is as renowned for the production of basketball players as for its crops of corn and wheat, and Bob says that colleges in that section play quite a fast game, although without as much contact as in the Southeastern. High school basketball in Kansas, he believes, is better than in Kentucky, although the style of play is different. Kansas teams play a slower game and pay more attention to defense, he says.

The six-foot, four-and-a-half inch brothers played together on the Winfield, Kan., high school team. In their senior year Bob was chosen center on the All-Ark Valley League team and Clarence was named as guard on the second team. Both are married, and Bob’s wife has obtained employment in Lexington.

Bob is trying to follow the pace set by Gerald Tucker, an All-Kansas center from Winfield high. Tucker played with the University of last season and broke the Big Six Conference scoring by dumping in 38 points in one game, and also set a new season’s record. Not a bad star to hitch onto.

Brannum says he likes Lexington and the University very much, but regrets that his parents back in Kansas haven’t been able to tune in on any of the Wildcats’ games. Maybe if Grizzard would talk a little louder.