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11 Shelby Linville

Shelby Linville
Hometown (Last School)
Middletown, OH (High)
1949-50, 1950-51, 1951-52
November 8, 1929

From the 1952 University of Kentucky Basketball Media Guide:

One of the brightest lights in the 1951-52 Kentucky cage picture, Shelby should rate serious All-America consideration if he keeps up the pace he set in 1950-51 . . . Second only to Spivey in the scoring race last year with 355 in 34 games . . . He was Cats’ most accurate free throw artist with amazing 75.7 percentage . . . Linville probably will see starting duty at forward, but may be shifted into the pivot often to make use of his great under-the-basket play . . . He his a virtually unstoppable one-handed jump shot and is very fast on breaks down the floor . . . Despite the fact he now calls Middletown, Ohio, his home, Shelby is a native Kentuckian born in Dayton, Ky., a Cincinnati suburb . . . Linville is best remembered for his stellar performance in the NCAA Tournament last year and the Eastern finals tussle with power-packed Illinois in particular . . . Proving himself one of the greatest clutch players in Kentucky cage history, Shelby bucketed points at virtually every crucial stage of the game and, with only 17 seconds remaining, blasted through the Illini defense to score the game-winning basket that broke a 74-all deadlock . . . The dramatic field goal gave Kentucky the opportunity that resulted in basketball history when they defeated Kansas State for their third NCAA Tournament championship—the first team to ever win the title three times . . . For his play he was named on the All-NCAA Tournament team along with Spivey.

Obituary – Former Middie, UK basketball great passes away, Middletown (OH) Journal (August 5, 2008) by Rick McCrabb

MIDDLETOWN – Basketball great, teacher and preacher Shelby Linville, who won two state championships at Middletown High School and a national championship at University of Kentucky, died today, Aug. 5. He was 78.

Linville, who was born in Dayton, Ky., on Nov. 8, 1929, moved to Middletown when he was 15.

Linville played for the Middletown Middies in 1946-47, the late coach Paul Walker’s first year at the helm. At 6-foot-5, Linville was considered a giant at the time.

The Middies won the state title in Linville’s junior season.

In his senior year, Linville set a team record with 39 points against Dayton Fairview, a record that stood until Jerry Lucas came along a few years later.

When Linville was looking for a college, teammates urged him to call Adolph Rupp, the legendary UK coach who was the guest speaker at the Middies banquet honoring the ’47 state champs. Linville signed at UK and averaged 10.4 points per game in his junior season. He was being hailed as an All-American candidate for his senior year.

But Linville will forever be remembered for his great performance in the NCAA Tournament as a junior. He proved himself to be, as the basketball media guide the next year pointed out, “one of the greatest clutch players in Kentucky’s cage history.”

In the national semifinals against Illinois, Linville scored points in every crucial stage of the game, including the eventual game-winning basket with 17 seconds remaining.

The Wildcats went on to defeat Kansas State for the national championship, the school’s third national title.

He is also remembered for scoring the first basket in Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum.

Since Linville played for the Wildcats and Middies, the late Ed “Skeeter” Payne, a former MHS athletic director, once said he had the best of both worlds.

When his basketball career ended, Linville taught and coached basketball at several schools and planted numerous churches, including one in Middletown.

Linville has said he read the Bible 308 times.

Jim Porter, a close friend, said Linville will be remembered as “a giver” because he started churches using his own savings and retirement money.

For the past six years, Linville has undergone prostate cancer surgery, angioplasty, an abdominal aneurysm, and recently battled bone cancer. Through all his medical battles, Porter said Linville “fought like a Wildcat.”

Linville, a member of the Middletown High School and Butler County athletic halls of fame, was inducted into the Pigskin-Roundball Spectacular Gold Medal Club in 2003.

He is survived by his wife, Yvonne; three sons, Phil and Joni, Hamilton, Rick, Missouri, and Russ and Paula, Middletown; 10 grandchildren and one grandchild.

His body has been donated to Wright State University Medical School. A celebration of life service will be scheduled at a later date.

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