Celebrating Coach Slay

February 26, 2013

A basketball coach whose ties to Emporia State University date back nearly 60 years will be honored on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, when the Hornets’ home basketball court is named in his honor.

Ron Slaymaker is well acquainted with the basketball court in the W.L. White Arena in Emporia. He first played on it as an undergraduate basketball player in the 1954-55 season, coached Hornet mens basketball teams there for 28 years then officiated on it during high school games after his retirement in 1998.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the Emporia City Commission voted to name the court the Ron Slaymaker Court.

“Coach Slay,” as Slaymaker is called, will be honored Thursday during halftime of the Emporia State mens game against Washburn University. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. A meet-and-greet with Slaymaker will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday night in the Hornet Halftime Room in the Little Theater of the Civic Auditorium.

Tickets for the game cost $8 for adult general admission, $6 for junior/senior general admission and $13 for reserved seats. Tickets may be ordered from the ESU Ticket Office at (620) 341-6378 (NEST) or purchased at the auditorium beginning at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

Slaymaker played for the Emporia State University Hornets from 1954-60, including a two-year stint in the U.S. Army from 1955-57. During his collegiate career he was named first-team all-conference three times, an honorable mention All-American in 1957-58, was the leading free-throw shooter in the nation during his senior season with a 90.9 percentage and still holds Emporia State’s career record for free-throw percentage at 86.2 percent.

As a coach, Slaymaker coached high school basketball for six seasons at Roosevelt High School, a laboratory school on the Emporia State campus. His record was 112-31. In 28 years as head coach of the Emporia State University men’s team, he earned a record of 465-361, which still stands as the most wins in Hornet history. He was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1985-86, named NAIA District 10 Coach of the Year six times, won four district championships to advance to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City and won five Central States Intercollegiate Conference championships.

Slaymaker’s coaching knowledge was acclaimed nationally. He served as assistant to Duke University Coach Mike Krzyzewski on the 1987 World University Games team, was a member of the selection committee for the 1988 U.S. Olympic basketball team, served as president of the NAIA National Basketball Coaches Association and was NCAA Division II Congressman for the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Four hall of fames count Slaymaker as a member — Emporia State Athletic Hall of Honor, Kansas Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and NAIA Hall of Fame. He received the first-ever MO-KAN Quality in Coaching Award from KC Benchmasters and was awarded the Don Jones Memorial Courage Award by the KBCA after battling prostate cancer during the 1995-96 season.

After retiring from coaching in 1998, Slaymaker began officiating high school basketball games, which he continues today.



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