Ken Trickey, who coached for Oral Roberts University in two stints during the ’70s and ’80s, has died. He was 79 years old.
Trickey, who also coached at Oklahoma City University and Iowa State during his career, led ORU’s basketball team to round eight in the 1974 NCAA tournament just ten years after the school was founded and became a living legend while placing the team squarely in the spotlight.
“It’s amazing what he accomplished in such a short time to go from … 10 years from the time the university was founded (in 1963) to playing for the Final Four and playing at your home arena,” current coach Scott Sutton said. “Without him, there wouldn’t be a Mabee Center probably. I always tell people – and people have said this – that (All-American player) Richard Fuqua built the arena. But Ken Trickey recruited Richard. Without Ken, ORU athletics certainly would have taken a lot longer to get on the map.”
Trickey held an impressive 214-116 record over the span of his career at ORU, and some say he revolutionized the game.
“I’m not sure Ken Trickey was ever given the credit for the impact he had on basketball in the state of Oklahoma,” former ORU and Tulsa coach Ken Hayes said. “Mr. (Henry) Iba was, is and always will be the godfather of basketball in the state of Oklahoma. He put together two national championships back-to-back and, besides being a great coach, he was a great human being and everybody that ever met him will always hold him in awe. But when Ken Trickey came in… and said we’ve got to put up 100 shots a game, he introduced an exciting brand of basketball.”
As a man who wasn’t afraid to be himself–despite the wishes of others–and gave the media full access to the team, he was described as a “breath of fresh air”.