30 Frank Ramsey

Hometown (Last School)
Madisonville, KY (High)
1950-51, 1951-52, 1953-54
July 13, 1931

From the 1955 University of Basketball Guide:

Tabbed as the “Blond Bombshell of Basketball” by sportswriters awed at his colorful antics on the court, will serve as co-captain of the 1953-54 Wildcat cage team and ranks as a prime candidate for honors. . . Sophomore of the Year in the South-eastern Conference three years ago, Ramsey was named to many All-America squads as a junior standout in ’52 and was a consensus second team choice . . . St. Louis U. Coach Eddie Hickey once praised the Wildcat ace as the finest basketball player in America . . . Typical of the type of guards employed by Coach Rupp in his racehorse-style, controlled fast break offense, Ramsey is big (6-3 and 185), extremely fast, aggressive under the boards and a very good out-side shooter . . . He specializes at driving layups which few opponents guarding him are able or care to stop, and generally serves as Rupp’s floor general in setting up plays . . He’s also a terrific defensive player, often stealing the ball from unwary opponents and driving the length of the floor, and is especially deceptive at intercepting passes intended for the man he is guarding . . . A great all-around competitor, Ramsey already has been selected in the pro draft as the number one choice by the Boston Celtics . . . The same club also has first call on the services of Hagan and Tsioropoulos, in addition to Ramsey, since all three were drafted as seniors scholastically last year.

Obituary – One of UK’s All-time Greats Has Died. Kentuckian Frank Ramsey, the Original Sixth Man, was 86, Lexington Herald-Leader (July 8, 2018) by

Frank Ramsey, a native Kentuckian whose basketball legacy includes helping the University of win the 1951 national championship, then becoming the original Sixth Man of the and ultimately induction in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982, died Sunday morning in his hometown of Madisonville. He would have turned 87 on Friday.

Richard Clark, a funeral director at the Barnett Strother Funeral Home in Madisonville, confirmed Ramsey’s death.

Ramsey teamed with on UK teams that won 86 of 91 games in the early 1950s. UK had a 32-2 record en route to winning the 1951 NCAA Tournament. After recording a 29-3 record in 1951-52, the Ramsey-Hagan era ended with the only unbeaten season in basketball history: 25-0 in 1953-54. The Wildcats were ineligible to compete for the national championship that season.

Although only 6-foot-3, Ramsey’s 1,038 rebounds ranks second on UK’s career list (Dan Issel had 1,078).

Ramsey ranks 27th on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,344 points.

“Ramsey wasn’t a great outside shooter, but few could deny him off the dribble,” Michael Bradley wrote in a book titled “Big Blue” and produced by The Sporting News. “He was a strong defender and a consummate team player.”

A first-round pick of the in 1953, Ramsey played on seven NBA championship teams. In his 623 NBA games, he averaged 13.4 points.

With all-stars Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman the starting guards, Boston’s coach, Red Auerbach, made Ramsey the team’s Sixth Man, a role previously uncelebrated. Ramsey began a tradition of famed Sixth Man players for the Celtics that was to include John Havlicek, Paul Silas, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton.

Ramsey “wrote the book on the job,” Hall of Fame sportswriter Bob Ryan wrote in his history of the Celtics. “Ramsey would handle more than one position and affect the game in numerous ways,” Ryan wrote. “Though just 6-3, he was tough enough and clever enough to play forward. Auerbach reasoned that bigger forwards would have more difficulty keeping up with Ramsey than Frank would have handling them. . . . And when Ramsey played guard, he was a real big guard for the era. He had an incredible capacity to come in cold and hit his first shot.”

“It seldom took him long to get his name on the stat sheet.”