A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Frank Ramsey ‘a true Wildcat and a true champion’ dies at the age of 86

Former Kentucky standout and longtime member of multiple boards at the school, Frank Ramsey died of natural causes at age 86 Sunday at his home in Madisonville. (UK Athletics Photo)

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The University of Kentucky men’s basketball program is mourning the loss of one of its most legendary players.

Frank Ramsey, a key contributor on Kentucky’s 1951 national championship team and a standout on the 1954 squad that went 25-0 and declined an invite to the NCAA Tournament, died at age 86 Sunday of natural causes at his home in Madisonville. He would have been 87 on Friday.

“Frank Ramsey was a true champion and a true Wildcat,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “He was one of the best players our program and our state have ever seen and further cemented his legend as a professional. We offer our deepest condolences to Frank’s family and friends.”

Ramsey played for the Wildcats and late legendary coach Adolph Rupp from 1950-54 and was a three-time All-American. Ramsey played for the Boston Celtics and won seven NBA titles. He was drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics in 1953 but opted to play his senior season for the Wildcats.

Ramsey scored double figures in eight of the nine seasons he played professionally. His jersey (No. 30) is retired by Kentucky and (No. 23) by Boston, where he made a name for himself as one of the NBA’s top sixth men off the bench.

Ramsey averaged 19.6 points and 8.8 rebounds during his senior campaign at Kentucky and ended his career with 1,244 points, fourth on the school’s all-time scoring list. He also played baseball at Kentucky, where he was an All-Southeastern Conference outfielder.

Following his playing career, Ramsey also coached the ABA Kentucky Colonels during the 1970-71 season and was heavily involved at the University of Kentucky following his playing career. He served on the UK Board of Trustees, the Athletics Board, the Development Council and the Alumni Board of Directors.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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