A basketball genius and HBCU legend is finally getting his proper respect. John McLendon, who coached at four HBCUs as well as in the pro ranks, has been named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach.
McLendon, who first made a name for himself at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central) was previously put into the Hall as a contributor. During his time at the Durham, NC school his team played “The Secret Game” vs. Duke in 1944, and in 1946 they won the first-ever CIAA Tournament.
After leaving NCC, McLendon briefly coached at the Hampton Institute before landing at Tennessee A&I, (now Tennessee State) where he led the school to NAIA national championships in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
After becoming the first ever black man to coach a pro team, the Cleveland Pipers of the ABL, McLendon finished his coaching career at Kentucky State.