Thanks to DBR for linking the warm article on Howard Hurt. I lived in West Virginia in the mid-fifties and was aware of Hurt as a player but never saw him play. I particularly enjoyed reading about his exploits on the court as a 70-year old. I am a few years younger and like Howard I shoot better than I ever did but the running and jumping have diminished over the years (Have to watch those Achilles tendons!). I also recognized the names of a couple of his teammates. I suspect that he has some interesting stories re his old roommate, Art Heyman.
I got a chuckle of the brief reference to playing summer ball with Jerry West. I saw West play his last two years in high school and I saw Willie Akers play as well. Akers was a nice player in high school but, IMO, not on the same level as West. He played freshmen ball with West at West Virginia and some considered him the better player of the two. That quickly changed when West outplayed two preseason All Americans (Cox of Kentucky and Brennan of UNC) at the Kentucky Christmas Tournament and played well in front of the New York press in MSG.
What a wonderful story about a wonderful man. Howard was my first favorite player at Duke. The ACC Tournament championship is one of my fondest Duke memories. He's surely blessed to still be playing basketball at that level. Good luck Howard in reaching that next championship. Go Duke!
The first time I ever saw an ACC basketball game in person was the 1960 ACC Tournament semifinals -- when Carroll Yougkin scored 30 to lead Duke to a monumental upset of top-seeded North Carolina (with Moe, Larese and Shaffer). The next night, Doug Kistler was the star as Duke stunned No. 2 seed (and regular season co-champion) Wake Forest (with Len Chappell and Billy Packer).
Although Youngkin and Kistler got the headlines, it was Howard Hurt who caught my eye. I'm like JVOO1 -- Hurt became my first favorite player -- No. 21.
We should take note -- this season is the 50th anniversary of that triumph ... Duke's first ACC championship. We should celebrate it.
Interesting (in view of some recent debates) that the 1960 triumph came because first-year coach Vic Bubas changed his lineup to go small. The 6-3 Hurt had been playing guard, but for the tournament, Bubas moved him to forward and played a backcourt of 5-9 Johnny Frye and 5-11 Jack Mullen (a Navy veteran who was somewhat older than his teammates).
The 6-9 Kistler and 6-6 Youngkin joined Hurt in the starting lineup. The next year, Art Heyman joined the team and took Mullen's spot in the lineup (he funked out at midseason anyway). Bubas started four seniors and a sophomore as Duke finished in the top 10 for the first time.
I later got to know Doug Kistler when he coached at Durham's Jordan High School -- leading the Falcons to the 1968 state championship. His best player off that team, Stu Yarbrough, went to Duke and ended up marrying one of Bubas' daughters.
I met Howard Hurt a couple of times ... he became a very successful prep coach at Enloe High School in Raleigh, where he mentored future Duke big man Randy Denton (still the most underrated player in Duke history).
Glad to see that things are still going well for my first favorite Duke basketball player.
What a great story on HOWARD HURT ... and Olympic Fan, thanks for sharing some great stuff from the 1960 season, when I became a LIFETIME Blue Devil fan -- with Duke's program on the rise under the great Vic Bubas, and the grid team going to the Cotton Bowl and upsetting Arkansas and "Bambi", I GOT DOWN.
When Art Heyman came in and started with the four vets (armed with his "just give me the ball and get out of my way" attitude) it must have been a riot. Maybe we can get Howard to step up to the plate and tell some war stories. Then if Art finds out, we'll hear his laughter all the way from his Bar, back east ! HA !
I can't WAIT for this season to start. Today is September 1 -- all the national publications will be out in about 3-4 weeks. I hope they put us somewhere around 8-12 in the preseason rankings ... so we can shock 'em next Jan-Mar. We have a terrific nucleus with stars (Kyle & Jon), solid vets, and young superstars in the making (Mason -- my guy, and Andre). This is going to be a HUGE YEAR ...
GO DUKE !
I really enjoyed the newspaper article about Howard. He was my first Duke basketball hero.... followed Tee Moorman as my first Duke hero ever. Seeing Duke play during the early 60s was magical. Everett Case and Bones McKinney were dominant and colorful coaches elsewhere (NC State and Wake Forest). The hiring of Vic Bubas was a real gamble. Games were fun and exciting. Tournament games were life and death for the season. What a time!
Basketball at 70? I have a new idol.
Oh and the pic of the two broken fingers? Classic. Lord knows basketball is hard on the hands...
It is cool to read about the players and teams from the 50's and 60's when Duke had strong Football and Basketball programs.
Amazing that double H can still ball at 70... what a guy!!
Good stuff! Thanks again for sharing...