Elmer Gilb

Elmer Gilb
Hometown (Last School)
Newport, KY (High)
1926-27, 1927-28, 1928-29
December 12, 1907

Legal Name:  Elmer Theodor Gilb
: Elmer “Baldy” Gilb
Date of Death: October 1, 1991
Brother-in-law of former Kentucky player Carey Spicer and future Kentucky player Bill Spicer

Elmer “Baldy” Gilb, was a University of Kentucky sports standout who coached basketball at Henry Clay High School for 25 years.  

Gilb was born in South Ft. Mitchell Dec. 12. 1907 to Frank Gilb and Edith Soreith Gilb.  Gilb was baptized at St Paul German Evangelical Protestant Church in Newport, Kentucky on February 2, 1908.

He attended Newport High School, graduating in 1925, and lettered in three sports. Gilb played on the Newport team that advanced to the semifinals of the State tournament in 1925 before losing to Louisville Manual 24-10.

Entering UK in 1925, he earned a freshman football letter. He received the “Frosh Cup” that went to an outstanding freshman.  He was also captain of the Freshman basketball team and was captain of the UK baseball team in his senior year. He also lettered in basketball.  Member of the Mystic Thirteen, an honorary fraternity for members of the Junior class.  Member of Phi Kappa Tau social fraternity.  Member of Lamp and Cross, an honorary fraternity for members of the Senior class.  Member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Honorary Fraternity for Leadership

After graduating in 1929 with a Bachelor of Arts (Commerce), Mr. Gilb assisted football coach Harry Gramage for three years.  He earned his Master of Arts from UK in 1936.

He signed a professional baseball contract with the Cincinnati Reds’ organization in 1930 and played briefly for the Dayton Aviators, a minor league baseball team. He was released in June of 1930.  After a summer of baseball, Gilb joined a rookie named Adolph Rupp as freshman coach at UK in 1930. He taught and coached at Picadome High School in 1933-34 before going to Lexington Junior High School in the fall of 1934.

Gilb stayed at Lexington Junior until 1946 when he succeeded John Heber as head basketball coach at Henry Clay. During his 16-year stay at Henry Clay, Gilb’s teams were perennial terrors of the Central Kentucky Conference.

After assistant coach Harry Lancaster went into the Navy during World War II, Mr. Gilb returned and helped Rupp another year. He assisted Adolph Rupp in 1945-1946 when UK won the NIT at Madison Square Gardens, New York by beating Rhode Island. He was Rupp’s top scout for many years averaging two trips a week in basketball season.  He was on the Wildcat bench when the “Rupp’s Runts” team lost to Texas Western in the 1966 National Collegiate Athletic Association finals at College Park, Md.

He also helped with the 1944 and 1945 football teams.

Elmer “Baldy” Gilb was a teacher at Henry Clay from 1946-1971. 

In sixteen years as head basketball coach at Henry Clay; he directed his teams to a 282-96 record. His Blue Devils reached the State Tournament in 1952 and 1962. His 62’ team won the Ashland Invitational and was the only team to defeat state champion St. Xavier. He also was Kentucky’s Coach of the Year that season. He was awarded the A.B. Chandler Award for contributions to the youngsters in Fayette County.

He was Central Kentucky Conference Coach of the Year in 1958-59, The Courier-Journal Coach of the Year in 1957-58 and the first teacher named “Outstanding Math Teacher” in Fayette County.

He retired from coaching basketball at Henry Clay in June of 1962 to focus on teaching.

According to Billy Reed, “Mr. Gilb was an excellent teacher, both in the classroom and on the basketball floor. He spoke loudly, possibly to compensate for his poor hearing.”

Gilb was assistant football coach at Hlenry Clay for 28 years and was named to the Henry Clay High School Hall of Fame in 2001.

He died October 1, 1991 at the age of 83 years old and is buried in the Lexington cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.


Career High Points: 3 – Maryland – 1/19/1928

1928-29 Senior Season

12/15/1928Eastern Normal0
2/13/1929Centre College0

1927-28 Junior Season

12/20/1927Miami (OH)2
1/9/1928Centre College0

1926-27 Sophomore Season

1/10/1927Kentucky Wesleyan1