17 Carey Spicer

Carey Spicer
Hometown (Last School)
Lexington, KY (Senior)
1928-29, 1929-30, 1930-31
April 23, 1909

Obituary – CAREY SPICER 1909-1996, Lexington Herald-Leader (December 6, 1996) by Jennifer Hewlett

Carey Spicer, one of the University of Kentucky’s top all-around athletes, died of cancer yesterday in Indianapolis. He was 87.

Mr. Spicer was the first two-time basketball All-American at UK, and the first All-American player under legendary coach Adolph Rupp.

Mr. Spicer set records in UK football that stood for 40 years. A quarterback on the 1928, 1929 and 1930 teams, Mr. Spicer set records for most touchdowns – 11 – and most points – 75 – in a season. He also was a top-flight tennis player and ran track at UK.

In 1964 he became the second former UK player to be elected into the Helms Basketball Hall of Fame. Forrest “Aggie” Sale, who played one year – 1931 – with Mr. Spicer at Kentucky, was the first.

“I knew him well. He was one of the great athletes in UK history ,” said ex-UK public information head Russell Rice. While Mr. Spicer was inducted into the national hall of fame, he did not get that much attention in his home state, Rice said.

“He’s just been overlooked, I think.”

Rupp once said that Kentucky fans would look back on Mr. Spicer as one of the greatest athletes in UK history, Rice said.

“Carey Spicer, in the time that we played, was one of the better players in America. He made the All-American team in his sophomore year in 1929, and again in 1931,” said 1930 UK basketball All-American Paul McBrayer. “He was an excellent player that came from Lexington High School.

“He was an excellent shot … had good moves to get to the basket and was a good team player.

“I don’t know that I’ve had a finer friend or know anybody that I’ve admired more than Carey Spicer,” McBrayer said.

The 6-foot-1 Mr. Spicer, a forward, played basketball under John Mauer during his first two years at UK, and was captain of Rupp’s first UK team in 1930-31.

He also was the leading scorer on Rupp’s first team, averaging 11.2 points a game. He was a 66 percent free-throw shooter that season. He scored 27 points against Vanderbilt in 1931. UK’s record that season was 15-3. He was an All-Southern Conference player the same two years he was named an All-American.

After graduating from UK, Mr. Spicer coached basketball for several years at Georgetown College.

“In coaching he tried to emulate Rupp, but he didn’t have the horses or the Rupp personality,” Rice said.

Mr. Spicer was a captain in the Army during World War II. After the war he joined Spalding Sporting Goods Co., selling primarily equipment for a sport he was not particularly good at – golf, according to his sister, Stella Gilb of Lexington. Mr. Spicer retired from Spalding.

Mr. Spicer, who was born in Lexington on April 23, 1909, also was one of the top football and basketball players at the old Lexington High School. He made the All-State team in basketball, was president of his senior class and received several other honors.

He came from a family that was blessed with good motor skills, his sister said. She went to Georgetown College from Lexington High on a basketball scholarship. Their brother, the late Billy Spicer, was known for his skills in football and basketball at Henry Clay High School.

Carey Spicer married Katherine Drury, his high school sweetheart. The two went through high school and college and 65 years of marriage together.

In addition to his sister, Mr. Spicer is survived by his wife; a son, Carey Spicer III of Indianapolis; a daughter, Kay Elliott of Indianapolis; another sister, Ann Kroh of Leawood, Kan.; four grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and two step-great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Leppert & Hurt Mortuary in Indianapolis. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Contributions are suggested to the American Cancer Society.