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Clem (The Gem) Haskins
Born August 11, 1943
Campbellsville, Kentucky
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight 195 lb (88 kg)
College Western Kentucky University
Draft 3rd overall pick, 1967
Chicago Bulls
Pro career 1967–1976
Former teams Chicago Bulls (1967-1970)
Phoenix Suns (1970-1973)
Washington Bullets (1973-1976)

Clem Smith Haskins (born August 11, 1943) is an American former college and 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.[1] This put Western Kentucky at the forefront to integrate college basketball in the South.[2] He served 13 years (1986-1999) 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.[3] 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.[4]


Early life

Haskins was born in Campbellsville, Kentucky, the fifth of eleven children of Charles Columbus and Lucy Edna Haskins, who were sharecroppers. He went his freshman and sophomore seasons at the all-black Durham High School, In 1961 Haskins attended Taylor County High School, the first African American to do so.

College career

He was a teammate of star basketball player Dwight Smith on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers team that won the Ohio Valley Conference two years in a row. Haskins was the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year in 1966. In the 1966 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the Hilltoppers were 2 points away from defeating Michigan and meeting the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the Mideast regional final. A controversial foul called against Smith during a jump ball put Cazzie Russell on the free throw line for Michigan, where he scored the tying and winning baskets.[5] In 1967, Haskins had broken his wrist in a game against Murray State on February 6. The team still won the Ohio Valley Conference again. In the 1967 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the #3 ranked Hilltoppers lost to Dayton in overtime in the Mideast quarterfinals.

NBA career

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.[6] 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.

Coaching career

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.[7] He 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.


Minnesota academic scandal

However, his legacy will be forever tarnished by a scandal involving academic fraud, which broke on the day before the the 1999 NCAA Tournament. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported allegations by Jan Gangelhoff, the manager of the school's academic counseling office, that she had written more than 400 pieces of coursework (including theme papers, homework assignments and take-home tests) for 18 Golden Gophers players from 1994 to 1998, including the Gophers' run to the Final Four. The Gophers suspended four then-current players, including two starters, for the school's first-round game against Gonzaga (which the Gophers lost). At the time, it was not known whether Haskins was involved, and the Pioneer Press was harshly criticized for the story's timing.[8] However, Haskins was forced to resign after the season. Minnesota also withdrew from postseason consideration for the 1999-2000 season, docked itself 11 scholarships from 2000 to 2004, and imposed other sanctions on the basketball program. Despite the serious NCAA violations on his watch, Haskins pocketed $1.5 million as a settlement and buyout of his contract.

During a school investigation, it emerged that Haskins paid Gangelhoff $3,000 to write papers for the players. Haskins had initially denied making the payment during his interview in June 1999, only to admit it a month later. In October 2000, the Golden Gophers program was placed on four years' probation by the NCAA, and stripped of its wins in the 1994, 1995 and 1997 NCAA tournaments, as well as its NIT wins in 1996 and 1998.[9] A few days later, the Big Ten Conference stripped Minnesota of the 1997 conference title and forced it to vacate every regular season game it played from 1993-94 to 1998-99. Officially, Minnesota's record for those years is 0-0. If not for these vacated games, Haskins would be the winningest coach in Golden Gophers history.

The NCAA also slapped Haskins with a seven-year "show-cause" order, meaning that no NCAA member school could hire him without seeking permission of the infractions committee. The penalty, the harshest that can be imposed on a coach, came because the committee found Haskins had lied about making the $3,000 payment, and—more seriously—he'd told several of the players involved to lie to the NCAA. Since most schools will not even consider hiring a coach with an outstanding "show-cause" on his record, Haskins was effectively blackballed from coaching until 2007.

After coaching

As of March 2008, Clem is no longer coaching basketball. He has a 750-acre (3.0 km2) ranch near Campbellsville, Kentucky where he raises cattle. He also works in local television where he does color commentary for Western Kentucky basketball home games.[3]


  • High School Scholastic All-American, 1963
  • Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, 1966
  • Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, 1967
  • First team All-American, 1967
  • Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, 1982
  • Associated Press Coach of the Year, 1997


  1. ^ Hilltopper Legend Dwight Smith Hilltopper Haven
  2. ^ Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem - My thoughts on UCLA in the Final Four Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2008. Western Kentucky was the forefront of the fight to integrate college basketball in the 1960s and early '70s.
  3. ^ a b Thamal, Pete - Catching Up With Clem New York Times, March 27, 2008.
  4. ^ PLUS: COLLEGE BASKETBALL; N.C.A.A. Upholds Haskins Penalties. New York Times, April 7 2001.
  5. ^ O'Donnell, Chuck - Cazzie Russell: converting two free throws with no time left advanced Michigan in the 1966 NCAA Tournament - The Game I'll Never Forget - University of Michigan versus Western Kentucky University. Basketball Digest, January/February 2004 issue
  6. ^ Clem Haskins page
  8. ^ Robertson, Lori - Body Slam - American Journalism Review, May 1999

External links

Preceded by
Jimmy Williams
University of Minnesota Head Basketball Coaches
Succeeded by
Dan Monson


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