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Clem Haskins – 1972-’73 Topps #59

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ImageClem Smith Haskins (born August 11, 1943) is a retired American professional basketball player and college basketball coach. He and star player Dwight Smith became the first black athletes to integrate the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers basketball program in the fall of 1963. This put Western Kentucky at the forefront to integrate college basketball in the South. He served 13 years as head coach of the University of Minnesota’s men’s basketball team, but was forced to resign due to one of the worst academic fraud scandals in the history of NCAA sports. He was effectively blackballed from coaching college basketball for seven years, one of the most severe penalties handed down by the NCAA to an individual.
After a successful college career, Haskins was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 1967 NBA Draft and by the Kentucky Colonels in the American Basketball Association draft. Haskins went on to play nine years in the NBA with three teams (the Bulls, the Phoenix Suns, and the Washington Bullets). He retired in 1976 due to knee injuries, having tallied 6,743 career points.
After his NBA career, Haskins returned to Western Kentucky University, first as an assistant coach and then as head coach. In 1986, Haskins was hired by the University of Minnesota to rebuild the school’s men’s basketball program. ImageHe led the Gophers to a school-record 31 wins and the Final Four in 1997, winning the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award in the same year. He also led Minnesota to National Invitation Tournament titles in 1993 and 1998. Haskins was known for sitting on a four-legged stool at Minnesota home games. Williams Arena has a raised floor which was hard on Haskins’ knees, and ordinarily the team sits off the floor. He joined Lenny Wilkens’ staff to coach “Dream Team III” to the gold medal in Basketball at the 1996 Summer Olympics
Clem is no longer coaching basketball. He has a 750-acre ranch near Campbellsville, Kentucky where he raises cattle. He also does color commentary for Western Kentucky basketball home games.

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