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Kentucky Wildcats History: Dying Young

By Jon Scott of

The untimely passing of Desmond Allison at a young age is tragic, but not unprecedented. Looking back over the history of the Kentucky basketball program, a number of former players have died young. One who never made it to campus was John Stewart, who had signed to play for Tubby Smith at UK but collapsed on the bench during a high school game from a heart attack. After 90 minutes trying to revive him, he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Others died young serving the country in World Wars. The first UK basketball player to do so was Howard Kinne who left school in the spring of 1917 to enter Officer's training and later the Western front over France. Kinne was the first aviator from the state of Kentucky to die in combat when his aircraft was shot down behind enemy lines. Five other former basketball players died in World War II: James King, James Goforth, Melvin Brewer, Kenneth England and Walter Johnson. You can read more about their military record at the following link.

Killed in Action

Desmond Allison was thirty-one years old when he died. Below are a list of players who died at that age or younger.

Edwin "Toots" Knadler (1926 - 1927) - age 20
Knadler became sick while at school. During preseason practice he reported feeling ill, reportedly saying "I just can't seem to get going. I haven't a bit of life in me.". He returned to his home in Louisville to recuperate but contracted pneumonia where he died. He is the only known player to die while still a student.

Max Glickman (1917 - 1918) - age 23
Glickman played at UK for one year, failing to score any points. He transferred from Kentucky to Columbia but never played basketball for the Lions. He was drafted into the service where he contracted tuberculosis. He later died in a government hospital in Asheville, NC.

Henry Farmer (1911 - 1913) - age 23 (estimated)
Farmer graduated from UK and moved back to Harlan, KY where he married Ms. Edna Southard. However within a year he contracted tuberculosis. He died while trying to recuperate in Golden, CO.

Patrick Campbell (1916 - 1918) - age 25
Campbell graduated from UK and moved to South Carolina to work. He became sick and returned to his hometown Lexington. He died in Lexington after a long illness.

[Marvin Stone:  No Picture Available]

Marvin Stone (1999 - 2002) - age 26
Stone played at UK part-way through his junior season before transferring to the University of Louisville. He fell ill during a game in a professional league in Saudi Arabia and later died of an apparent heart attack.

Joseph Coons (1902 - 1905) - age 28
Coons was on the first official UK team in 1902-03. After graduation he eventually settled down in his hometown of Mount Sterling, KY where he married Ms. Grace Ogg at the age of 27. Within a year he fell ill to tuberculosis. He died in Asheville, N.C., where he was trying to recuperate.

Bob "Frog" Fowler (1975 - 1976) - age 31
Fowler, known for his jumping ability, played for UK one season before transferring to Iowa State. After college he became a thorough-bred horse agent. He collapsed at Keeneland race track and died at the age of 31.

Walter Fox (1906 - 1910) - age 31
Fox graduated from UK and became a chief engineer in Dayton, OH. The native of Newport, KY contracted pneumonia and died at the age of 31.