- Phil Grawemeyer
- Hometown (Last School)
- Louisville, KY (Manual)
- 1953-54, 1954-55, 1955-56
- October 6, 1934
Phil Grawemeyer, known affectionately as “Cookie,” was born Phillip Ernest Grawemeyer on October 6, 1934, in Louisville, Kentucky to Ada Fay Burton and Ernest Lee Grawemeyer. He played for DuPont Manual High School in Louisville. He was a member of the 1953-54 team that went 25-0 and was crowned national champions by the Helms Athletic Foundation.
Phil Grawemeyer led his high school team into the final round of the state basketball tournament in Memorial Coliseum on two consecutive years, earning all-tournament and All-State honors both seasons. He was the captain of his high school team as a senior. Phil Grawemeyer, the best performer at the 1952 Louisville Invitational Tournament since Gene Rhodes, tossed in 29 points in the finale that shattered marks all over the place. It marked a new individual high in tournament play and, of course, set a new standard for the final. His total of 70 points in three tournament games erased the 61 posted by Cliff Hagan of Owensboro in 1949. The previous high in the final was 21 by Flaget’s Bob Houk in 1950. On February 2, 1952, he netted 31 points as Manual defeated Henry Clay, 68-39. He scored 19 points in a losing effort in the state championship game against Cuba on March 22, 1952. Grawemeyer, the top point-maker in Louisville his senior year, tallied 591 points in 35 games for a 16.9 average putting him in a tie with Bill McKrocklin of Shawnee for the Hasenour trophy which is presented to the high school player with the best scoring average in the 7th Region. Grawemeyer tallied 1,004 in his final two seasons with Manual.
As a sophomore, Grawemeyer was a member of the undefeated 1953-54 UK team. That team did not go to the NCAA tournament that year. An NCAA rule banning post-graduate players from the tournament meant top UK players Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey, and Lou Tsioropoulos could not play. UK Coach Adolph Rupp decided that the rest of the Wildcats would not play in the tournament. “We were kids,” Grawemeyer said in a 2004 interview. “We didn’t have the maturity level Cliff and Frank and Lou had. We wanted to go ahead and play. It would have been nice to go, but I’m sure without those guys, we wouldn’t have gone very far.” The UK team defeated LaSalle in the UK Invitational Tournament that season. LaSalle went on to win the NCAA tournament. At the annual basketball banquet, on May 3, 1954, Rupp in a brief speech recommended to Athletic Director Bernie Shively that the numbers worn by the first seven men on the team be retired permanently. The numbers No. 16 ‘Tsioropoulos No. 30 (Ramsey y. and No. 6 •Hagan ) would be retired immediately while the other four would be retired when the playing careers of the boys terminated. They are No. 42 (Evans). No. 20 (Gayle Rose). No. 33 (Linville Puckett’. and No. 44 Phil Grawemeyer. In November of 1953, Coach Adolph Rupp singled Grawemeyer out as the player who had shown the most improvement so far in practice. The former Louisville Manual star was a center in high school but was switched to forward on his arrival at UK and developed an excellent one-hander from the side. In the latter part of December 1953, Grawemeyer had worked his way into the starting lineup and scored 48 points in four games from December 21, 1953, to January 4, 1954. “Cookie” started in over half of the 25 games that he saw action in during the 1953-54 season, scoring 147 points—good for a 5.9 average. Grawemeyer ranked high among the leaders in rebounding. Grawemeyer was instrumental in Kentucky’s victory over LaSalle on December 22, 1953, in the UK Invitational Tourney as his “pinch-hitter” scoring pulled the Wildcats from behind an 8-point deficit.
As a junior, Phil Grawemeyer was on the road to stardom before he suffered a broken fibula in his left leg in the DePaul game on February 19, 1955, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. He was second only to Bob Burrow in rebounding and scoring before the injury. He was particularly impressive during the early stages of the season, his 28-point output in the opening game against LSU on December 4, 1954, being his top effort. He hit 20 or better on other occasions. He could play either forward or center, being equally adept at either position. He had a 13-point scoring average, third on the team, and rebounded at a 13.5 rate. “Cookie” also led the team in free throw percentage. Cookie was regarded as an excellent southpaw baseball hurler and considered turning pro after graduation.
As a senior, Grawemeyer was elected captain of the 1955-56 edition of the Wildcats by his teammates. Grawemeyer was extremely valuable to the Cats when they run up against a zone defense since he was gifted with a graceful portside one-hander to go along with a variety of shots that included a good jump and hook. Despite his lanky 6-7 1/2 frame, he was regarded as a demon on the boards and possessed exceptional speed for a cager his size. He was the fifth-leading scorer in the 1955-56 season (219 points), with an average of 8.4 points.
Phil Grawemeyer scored 626 career points to go along with 703 rebounds in three seasons (1954-56) at Kentucky. He averaged double-digit rebounds in his final two seasons. Grawemeyer also was a pitcher on the UK baseball team.
Grawemeyer was vice president of the Circle K Club his junior year and president his senior year. The Circle K is a service club established at Kentucky in 1954 and organized to aid students with their studies and to help organize clubs on other campuses.
Grawemeyer was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1956 NBA Draft. He was also drafted by the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals but didn’t play professional sports.
He married Mary Lou Kaiser on June 16, 1956, in Louisville after pitching a 3-hitter for a Louisville amateur baseball team earlier in the day. They had two daughters, Lynne Ann Wagner and Cathy Truax.
Grawemeyer, who received a degree in business administration from UK upon graduation on May 27, 1957, worked for the state highway department and was a real estate developer.
He was inducted into the Manual Hall of Fame in 1996.
He was a charter class member of the UK Hall of Fame in 2005, and his No. 44 basketball jersey is retired.
Grawemeyer passed away on March 20, 2008, from complications from lung cancer at Baptist Hospital East in Louisville. He was 73.