- Pat Doyle
- Hometown (Last School)
- Calvert City, KY (North Marshall)
- 1961-62, 1962-63
- April 1, 1941
Obituary – Players, coaches remember Doyle, Marshall County Tribune-Courier by John T. Wright
Western Kentucky lost one of its basketball legends on July 8 with the passing of former North Marshall High School standout Pat Doyle.
Doyle, who helped NMHS claim the state championship in 1959 and was later named Mr. Kentucky Basketball, died in a Lexington hospital at the age of 61. It is believed he succumbed to cancer of the esophagus.
However, succumb was a word just not associated with Doyle in his playing days. Known for his intensity and competitive spirit, Doyle – a 6-1 forward – was a driving force for the Jets in the magical season of ’59, where they lost just once in 35 games.
NMHS chopped down Gallatin County, Maysville, Olive Hill and, finally, Louisville Manual en route to the title at memorial Coliseum on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Doyle was named to the all-tournament team, along with teammate Jimmy Lampley, a guard.
“I didn’t have any trouble from him,” said Doyle’s coach at NMHS, Charlie Lampley last Tuesday. “He had a really good personality. In fact, when I moved to Marion County (where he served as an administrator at Marion County High School in Lebanon near Lexington after his coaching days), I used to go over and see him some (in Frankfort, where Doyle worked.)”
Doyle’s death marks the first for a team member or coach of the ’59 team.
“I’ve lost my buddy,” said Dolph Larimer, Doyle’s running mate at forward for the ’59 team, last Wednesday. “I had heard he was sick; this came on really fast, though.”
Teammate R.M. Spiceland, the starting center for the Jets that year, said Doyle’s work ethic was something to behold.
“He was a very hard worker, and that’s because he wanted to succeed so much,” said Spiceland. “He was one of the leaders, and he got Mr. Basketball. That pretty well proves how valuable he was I think.
“He went after it to win. I hated to hear (of his passing),”
Doyle may have had the ultimate motivation for the ’59 season. That was his senior year, coming after his junior campaign had been cut short in the postseason by a most untimely battle with mumps. NMHS went on to reach the finals of the First Region Tournament, where the Jets were edged out by a solid Benton club.
“It’s hard to say, but if it weren’t for that, we might’ve been (to State) back to back,” said Buddie Poe, Lampley’s assistant, who would lead the Jets back to the Sweet 16 in 1965, four years after Lampley guided them to a return trip to Memorial. “He got the mumps during tournament time in ’58, so he didn’t get to play those games. Benton had a good team that year, though, so it’s hard to say how that would’ve turned out.”
That bout with the mumps apparently supplied a year’s worth of fIre for Doyle. He averaged between 16 and 17 points a game in the ’59 season, finishing as one of three players that averaged in double digits, Jimmy Lampley and forward Dolph Larimer being the others with Spiceland and guard Jerry Powell not far below the 10 ppg mark.
“I’d say because of (the mumps episode), yes, that was a reason he played so hard,” said Coach Lampley, whose team came back to defeat BHS fIve times and defeated a tough Paducah Tilghman squad three times. “Pat was just a a real hustler, a hard worker, and he worked in practice as hard as he did in the games.
“And, let me tell you, we had some hard practices. Our JV team (coached by Poe) gave us all we wanted, and that team had many of the players that went back to State in 1961 (Bennie Goheen, Kendall King, Sam Clark and Gary Seay, being included in that lineup).”
Doyle went on to play four years at UK under Adolph Rupp. Immediately after graduating, he began a job with the State Social Security offIce in Frankfort. It wound up the only job he would have or need the next 30-or-so years; he still was employed there when he died.
Poe said Doyle seemed healthy when he last saw him. That was a UK game at Rupp Arena this past winter.
“He looked real good. His seats were not too far from where mine were, and he came over and saw me. It was a really good time,” Poe said. “You just don’t know (about somebody’s health). He called me (back in the winter) and said he was coming down this way and asked if! could meet with he and Frank Waggoner (parks superintendent at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park in Gilbertsville), and I said I could. Then, for some reason, I couldn’t go.
“You know…that’s the fIrst thing I thought about when I heard about him passing.”
Doyle and both Lampleys are members of the state tournament hall of fame. Jimmy Lampley was inducted this past March.
Doyle’s funeral was held Friday in Frankfort. His memory, though, remains.
“We could play ball. We just loved it,” Larimer said. “In fact, I wish I could go out right now and play about three games with those boys.”