Basil Hayden, UK's First All-American Dies at Age 103

Jan. 10, 2003

Basil Ewing Hayden, 103, 2000 South Main Street, Paris, KY, husband of Edna Lytle Hayden, died Thursday, January 9, 2003. He was born May 19, 1899 in Stanford, KY, son of the late Joseph Wallace and Annie Brown Hayden. He was a graduate of Paris High School and a 1921 graduate of the University of Kentucky.

Of all the words said about Basil Hayden, the most poignant perhaps, were those written that appeared in the Atlanta Constitution after U.K. defeated the University of Georgia in the 1921 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association's first basketball championship: "...Hayden, the Kentucky captain, a blond Apollo, a Kentucky thoroughbred, if ever one stepped on the turf, has been the thorn in the side of Kentucky's opponents."

From the time he first held a basketball, up until his death, he was a "True Blue, Kentucky Wildcat," and the first U.K. player to be chosen as a basketball All-American. His jersey hangs proudly from the rafters of Rupp Arena (it is one of those with a name only - they did not have numbers on the jerseys when he played). His life is chronicled in the Basketball Museum at "Rupp Arena.

His basketball "career" began in the sixth grade in Paris, Kentucky, and he went on to play for Paris High School where he had been inducted into the Paris High School Greyhound Hall of Fame.

In the course of his life, Mr. Hayden served in the U.S. Army during W.W. I, taught school, coached basketball at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky Wesleyan College, sold insurance, did tax work, was a bank officer, was a state bank examiner, and a hospital administrator. He retired in his seventies from the job of treasurer of the Interboard Council, Kentucky Conference of the Methodist Church. He was a faithful member of the Methodist Church, holding many leadership positions through the years. He was also a member of Rotary International and Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Other survivors are a daughter and son-in-law, Ann Lura Hayden and Charles Weesner, Cross Hill, SC; grandson, William R. Insko, Jr., Lexington; five great grandchildren, Marshall Neal Thomas, Olivia Thomas, Cora Josephine Thomas, Andrew Insko, Joseph Insko; three stepchildren, Janie (Ken) Smith, Betsy (Glen) Whitt, Bill (Cathy) Daugherty; four stepgrandchildren, William Daugherty, Allie Whitt, Laura (Chris) Staton, Bart Weesner; step great grandson, Jake Daugherty; niece, Ann Horton Burns; and a nephew, Ellis B. Hayden, Jr.

He was preceded in death by his frist wife, Mary Hardin Hayden, and a granddaughter, Mary Thomas. Memorial services will be 3 p.m. Sunday at the First United Methodist Church, Paris, by Rev. Chris Patterson and Rev. Jeff Bell. Inurnment in the Buffalo Springs Cemetery, Stanford, KY. Visitation will be 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hinton-Turner Funeral Home, Paris. Memorials are suggested to the First United Methodist Church or one's favorite charity.