Two Marshall Countians are among the second edition of the centennial class of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, announced last week in Lexington.
This year’s group, which will be enshrined on July 20 at the State Theater in Elizabethtown, includes Joe Fulks, a standout player credited by many with inventing the one-hand jump shot, and Howard Beth, Kentucky’s all-time winningest girls high school basketball coach and winner of two state championships with the Lady Marshals in 1982 and ’84.
Kentucky high school basketball will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018. The first 100 inductees into the Hall of Fame are part of the centennial class, which will be complete that year.
Fulks was born in Birmingham, an eastern Marshall County community which was covered by the waters of Kentucky Lake after Kentucky Dam was completed. Reports conflict over whether Fulks played at Birmingham or Kuttawa high school.
He played two years at Murray State University in the early 1940s, averaging 13.2 points per game and helping the Thoroughbreds compile a 39-9 record during his two varsity seasons before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1943 during World War II.
After the war, Fulks, a 6-5 forward, played professionally in the Basketball Association of America, the forerunner of the modern National Basketball Association, with the Philadelphia Warriors.
He was league scoring leader on the BAA championship team in 1947 and was a two-time all-star, scoring 8,003 points and grabbing 1,379 rebounds in his career.
He died in 1976 at age 54.
He is a member of the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame, inducted in 1965, and the Marshall County Athletic Hall of Fame, which included him in its inaugural group of inductees in 2009. He was also named to the NBA’s Silver Anniversary Team.
Beth, 63, was head coach of the Lady Marshals for 30 years before stepping down at the end of the 2009-2010 season. His teams won 793 games with 150 losses, and claimed 19 region championships, including 11 in a row from 1981 through 1991, and 23 Fourth District titles.
Beth played at North Marshall High School and was a member of the First Region champion Jets team that year.
Beth leads Randy Napier, still active as coach at Perry County Central with a career total of 775 wins and 220 losses after his team was defeated by Letcher County Central, Thursday’s opponent for Marshall County in the state tournament at Bowling Green.
Beth is third overall among Kentucky high school coaches, behind boys coaches William Kean of Louisville Central (856-83 over 31 seasons) and Billy Hicks, 817-241 after this season, his 32nd, at Scott County.
Kean is a fellow member of this year’s class of hall of fame inductees.
Other inductees in this class include:
Howard Crittenden, Cuba
Linville Puckett, Clark County
Johnny Cox, Hazard
Billy Ray Lickert, Lexington Lafayette
Larry Conley, Ashland
Alfred “Butch” Beard, Breckinridge County
Mike Casey, Shelby County
Donna Murphy, Newport
Sharon Garland, Laurel County
Allan Houston, Louisville Ballard
Jaime Walz-Richey, Fort Thomas Highlands
J.R. VanHoose, Paintsville
Coach William Kean, Louisville Central
Coach Letcher Norton, Clark County and Trapp
Coach Bobby Watson, Owensboro
Last year’s first edition of centennial class inductees included:
“King” Kelly Coleman, Wayland
Wes Unseld,Louisville Seneca
Jim McDaniels, Allen County
Darrell Griffith, Louisville Male
Geri Grigsby, McDowell
Clemette Haskins, Warren Central
Rex Chapman, Owensboro Apollo
Richie Farmer, Clay County
Coach Bobby Keith, Clay County
Coach Roy Bowling, Laurel County
Coach S.T. Roach, Lexington Dunbar
Cliff Hagan, Owensboro
Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones, Harlan
Ralph Beard, Louisville Male
Coach Ralph Carlisle, Lexington Lafayette
Clem Haskins, Taylor County