Henderson City High School, 1955 to 1963

"King" Kelly Coleman and the Wayland Wasps

City High Facts
Henderson City High Basketball With Game Scores1955-56
The Game-Henderson All-Stars vs the Harlem Magicians, April 1961
1955 KHSAA State Football Champions & Game Scores
1956 Henderson City High Baseball
1956 Henderson City High Track
Barret Manual and Henderson City High Coaches 1952-1971
Coach Don Shelton-1928- 2011
1955-56 City High Basketball team, Players Profiles
1956 West All-Star Team
Pascal Benson, All-State-Football, Basketball, baseball
Tommy Glover, high school All-American
1959 KHSAA State Football Champions
1959 Football State Champions Reunion
1959-60 Henderson City High School Basketball
1959-60 Henderson City High School Basketball Queen
1959-60 Henderson City High School Homecoming Queen
1959-60 Henderson City High Cheerleaders
1960-61 Henderson City High School Basketball
1960-61 Henderson City High School Football
1960-61 Henderson City High Cheerleaders
1960-61 Henderson City High Basketball Queen
1960-61 Henderson City High Homecoming Queen
Link to Class of 1963
City High Class Presidents, 1956-1963
All Henderson High Schools Basketball Scoring records
All-State-Regional-District-Honors from 1953 to 1957
All-State, All-American High School Basketball teams 1955-56
All-Time Kentucky High School Scorers
National High School 100 point games
Barret basketball 1954-55
Barret basketball Scores-game by game 1954-55
Barret baseball 1955
1954-55 Barret Manual High School Cheerleaders
William Spoehr & the 1916 Barret Basketball champions
Closed Henderson Schools & Kentucky School Consolidations
Photos of old Henderson Schools
Barret High & City High Fight Songs
100 points records and Mr. Kentucky basketball winners
"King" Kelly Coleman and the Wayland Wasps
Kentucky State Basketball Tournament Records
Link to 1957, 6th Grade Jefferson Elementary
Lex's pick of best of Kentucky Athletes/Entertainers
All-time Barret/Henderson City High Basketball Team
Contacts with Classmates
Links to other web-sites

Kelly Coleman of Wayland was named Kentucky's first Mr. Basketball & National High School Player of the Year. He was rated above Oscar Robertson & Jerry West, 2 of college's & NBA's all-time greats.

Excerpts from the Pikeville Medical Leader Newspaper
    Many schools showed an interest in Coleman, but he decided to continue his education and play basketball at West Virginia University. Before he traveled to Morgantown to play for the Mountaineers, the NCAA investigated claims of illegal recruiting practices by the school in an effort to sign Coleman.

     “The guy who was my sponsor gave me a car to drive,” he explained. “I had, I believe, a 1955 Dodge, a Gulf credit card for gasoline, about 15 pairs of shoes, and four or five suits. I probably had the nicest clothes in Floyd County over my last two months in high school. If  I needed money, I got it. I was engaged to be married in high school during my last year, and he (the sponsor) paid for the rings.”


Player Profile: Kelly Coleman

By Gordon Moore (Prestonburg, Kentucky)

reprinted and re-edited with permission.

Kelly Coleman, without question is the greatest Kentucky high school player of all time, finished his amazing high school basketball career by gathering 4,263 points in 127 games for an astounding 33.6 per game mark in his four-year career at Wayland High School in the hills of Floyd County.

During the 1955-56 season, the agile performer chalked up 1,919 counters, a 46.8 point per game average that should last forever.

As a junior, he hit 1,174 points in 36 contests for a 32.6 ppg avg.

In his sophomore year, 784 points in 30 games. for a 24.1 ppg avg. 

As a 14-year-old freshman he scored 386 points in 20 games for a 19.3 ppg avg.

His career scoring average was an astounding 32.76 ppg 

His senior year at Wayland, his average was an astounding 46.8 per game

The King scored 75 points against Maytown in the 1956 season.

In the 1956 Kentucky State High school basketball tournament, Kelly broke four of the individual records himself and his Wayland team established four more.

The records he set were:

Most points in one state tournament game, 68, breaking his own record of 50 set against Shelbyville in the opening game.

The Memorial Coliseum one-game record, breaking Cliff Hagan's mark of 51 set against Temple for Kentucky.

Four-game individual total of 185 points, breaking the 127 record of the previous year.

New individual point-per-tournament game average of 46.25 breaking the old mark of 31.75.

The son of a former coal miner, Kelly started playing basketball at the age of six on an outdoor court near the city limits of Wayland and was a full-fledged member of the varsity when he enrolled in high school.

He has been named to the all-district team four times, all-regional twice, all-E.K.M.C. twice, all-state twice, all-state tournament twice and 1956 National player of the year as a result of his cage prowess.

The 210-pound 6-3" 18-year old, excels as one of the best greatest rebounders Kentucky basketball has ever seen. He is an adept dribbler and has a very deceptive change of pace, which made him equally effective driving in or shooting his favorite one-hander from back of the foul ring, which is measured at 23'. Today that would a 3 pointer, and would probably increase his point totals by 12-15 points per game. King Kelly was named as the first recipient of the Mr. Basketball of Kentucky.   


Prestonburg KY Newspaper

Knott County sports

Kelly Coleman, in this writers opinion, is the single greatest high school basketball player in American schoolboy history. Kelly Coleman was aptly nicknamed the "KING", a title most of us could not live up to. Kelly Coleman did, and he handled it with grace and dignity. Even though Kelly did not like the title, he learned to live with that title. He was a man of humility and with an incredible amount of god-given talent and he proved he deserved the title beyond a shadow of doubt. Kelly Coleman's legend will live forever as Kentucky's greatest gift to High School basketball. Close friend & former teammate, Don Gish (of Barret High in Henderson. KY) & teammate at Kentucky Wesleyan College, says that Kelly Coleman was without doubt the most heavily recruited high school player of all-time. Every coach, player or fan that ever saw this phenom would all say Kelly Coleman was the greatest player they ever saw play this game. Legend has it that Kelly was as good in baseball as he excelled in basketball. Kelly did play baseball for Kentucky Wesleyan College, and lead the baseball team in hitting. It's a shame that Kelly Coleman never had the chance to play high school football, baseball or track. We would probably be reading about his prowess & his records in those other sports.   

  • King Kelly Coleman 0f Wayland
  • High School Vitals Statistics
  • Name: Kelly Coleman
  • Position: Guard
  • Height: 6' 3" 
  • Weight: 215 lbs
  • High School: Wayland High
  • College Team: Kentucky Wesleyan College  
  • Nationality: English
  • Birthplace: Wayland, Kentucky
  • Birthdate: 9/21/1938
  • Played 2 years for the New York Knicks, 1961 & 1962 
  • Played 2 years in the ABL, and was second leading scorer in the ABL.
  • Named MVP in ABL 1963
  •          The starting five for Wayland all averaged in double figures.
  • Wayland's 1956 Kentucky High School Tournament

                  FIRST ROUND

    Wayland 87------Shelbyville 76

    Wayland 65 ------ Earlington 58

    Carr Creek 68 ------ Wayland 67


    Wayland 122 ------ Bell Co. 89



    1955-56, 41 GAMES 1,919 TOTAL POINTS 46.8 AVERAGE

    1954-55, 36 GAMES1,174 TOTAL POINTS 32.6 AVERAGE

    1953-54, 30 GAMES 784 TOTAL POINTS 26.1 AVERAGE

    1952-53, 20 GAMES 386 TOTAL POINTS 19.3 AVERAGE

    127 TOTAL GAMES 4,263 TOTAL POINTS 33.6


    King Kelly's point total of 68 POINTS in the consolation game of the state high school tournament was not his highest score that season. That same year in a regular season game, Coleman scored 75 Points against the Maytown Wildcats.

    Maytown's final score was 74 points. KELLY outscored

    the entire team from Maytown by 1 POINT.

    Headlines in local newspapers read: 

    "KING Kelly Coleman 75    Maytown 74". 

    actual Final score WAYLAND 122 Maytown 74.

    The King of high school basketball, Kelly Coleman averaged a tournament record of 49 points a game in the 1956 Kentucky High School tournament.

    As of today's date, 9-29-09, Kelly Coleman still holds the record in the KHSAA sweet 16 tournament in 7 different categories.

    1. Most Points in a single game: 68

    2. Most points in tournament: 185

    3. Most Field Goals in a single game: 27

    4. Most field goals in a half: 14

    5. Most field goals in tournament: 69

    6. Most free throws in tournament: 47

    7. Most rebounds in a single game: 28

    3rd in most free throws in a single game: 18

    None of these records have been broken and still stands today.



    1958-59, 1959-60, 2 Seasons: 1st team Small College All-American

    #1 in Career Scoring average: 27.7 

    #3 all-time points career: 2,077

    #1 in points for single season, 1960: 848 points 

    #2 Career Rebounding average: 12.1 

    #3 in Nation in college (all divisions) scoring, 1960: 30.3 per game

    #6 Career Rebounds: 904

         Fifty-three years ago in 1956 , Kelly Coleman was a senior at the now defunct Wayland High School (Wayland High School joined the ranks of many high schools in Kentucky that became victims of County consolidations). But the player who would be known as the greatest high school basketball player in U. S. history was anything but your average student. Kelly Coleman averaged 46.8 points per game in 1956 for the Wayland High School Wasps basketball team and was called “the greatest high school player who ever lived” by legendary University of Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp. 
        In the 1956 state tournament, Coleman faced a hostile crowd who was anxious to see Kelly fail. Every major school  tried to recruit Coleman, but he decided to play basketball at West Virginia University. Before he traveled to Morgantown to play for the Mountaineers, the NCAA investigated claims of illegal recruiting practices by the school in an effort to sign Coleman. 
         If Kelly had actually played for the Mountaineers, he would have been teamed up with Mountaineer legend Jerry West. Which quite possibly could have the been the best 1-2 punch in NCAA histoty, but fate had other plans. After receipts from Coleman’s credit card purchases were obtained, he was not allowed to play basketball at West Virginia by a ruling made by the NCAA. Coleman then found out the University of Kentucky had contacted the NCAA and asked for an investigation. That finalized his decision of not attending UK, cheating destiny, now he never would have the chance to play as a Wildcat, as all UK fans wanted him to do. That literally was the nail in the coffin for the greatest high school player of all time, and would have to settle playing at the NCAA small college level. Not at the University of Kentucky, not West Virginia or any division 1 school.  
         Kelly worked in Ohio for a year, and then decided to continue his education and play more basketball, and enrolled at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, where he once again rewrote the record books.
         The King of high school basketball was the 11th overall pick in the 1961 NBA draft by the New York Knicks, where he played 2 years. Kelly left the NBA after 2 years and went to the new ABL where his topsy-turvy basketball career finally ended. What a legacy this Mountain man left, leaving his mark for all of the young men playing basketball in the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

    "King Kelly Coleman" by Gary P. West

    King Kelly Coleman: Kentucky's Greatest Basketball Legend

    By Gary P. West

    In a state where the love of basketball itself is legendary, there are its rare heroes who also, through the dispassionate lens of history, rise to legendary status. When that legend rises so far above the others to acquire mythical or rather, folk hero, proportions - and then enigmatically vanishes- you have King Kelly Coleman.
    This shy, humble mountain boy blessed with extraordinary talent and drive captured Kentucky's hearts and its all-time record books with performances that have yet to be equaled - even half a century later. Never before in print, the authorized King Kelly Coleman story, as told by award-winning author Gary P. West, from actual interviews and information from Coleman himself.

    "...A portrayal of who is arguably the best high school player to ever have played the game of basketball in the Bluegrass."
    –Larry Conley
    University of Kentucky Wildcats
    1964 - 1966

    "Kelly Coleman was one of the most exciting players in Kentucky's history, and his legendary feats are still being talked about today. This book sets the records and stories straight."
    –Joe B. Hall
    Former head basketball coach
    University of Kentucky

    "A must read for the basketball fan who wants to know the real story about Kentucky's greatest basketball legend, King Kelly Coleman."
    –Wes Strader
    Veteran announcer of the Boys Sweet 16 Basketball Tournament and Western Kentucky University

    "...The greatest prep basketball player in history."
    –Adolph Rupp
    Former head basketball coach
    University of Kentucky

    Note: I found the book to be extremely interesting and informative. There's a section about Henderson City High's runner-up to Carr Creek. There's even more about former Henderson Barret great Don Gish.  

    BLUE YONDER: Kentucky: The United State of Basketball

    By Lonnie Wheeler

    General Information:

    Only in Kentucky does a sport say so much about a state. Blue Yonder reads like a fast-paced novel and is filled with dozens of characters from the legendary King Kelly Coleman to the stalwarts of the 1977 UK team that against all odds went into overtime for the NCAA Championship. Between the birth of UK’s national prominence under Adolph Rupp and its rebirth under Rick Pitino is an all-encompassing look at the mysterious culture of Kentucky basketball. Never before has a book captured so ardently the regional pride that fuels this state’s obsession.

    Kelly Coleman

    News from the Holler

    This web-site is dedicated to the Barret Manual &
    Henderson City High Sports teams from 1954-1963.
    Especially the Henderson City High 1955-56 sports teams
    that had so many great gifted student/athletes.  

    Property of
    , TM, , 2008, 2009, 2010  

    The contents of this web site are intended to be used

    only for the educational  value and entertainment enjoyment.

    An alumni of Henderson City High School stated to me:

    "Once a Flashman, always a Flashman".  

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    Many thanks to the people listed below for their contributions.
    Jim Adams (HHS '59),
    Elaine Benson (HNHS: '59),
    Pascal Benson (HHS '56) 
    Don Gish (BMTHS '55),
    Glenda Alexander Guess (HHS '57),
    Shirley Hagan (HHS '56),
    Billy Haynes (HHS '59),
    Sonda Keach Nolan (HHS '56),
    Dr. Fred Schuette (HHS '56),
    Sammy Joe Shelton (HHS '56),
    Bud Bayard Walters (HHS '59),
    Coach T. L. Plain


    all artwork/photos are the property of SAR2 CREATIONS of Nevada,

    , TM, , 2007, 2008, 2009. 2010,

    Please contact webmaster for any use of artwork or photographs.

    All photographs used are public-domain,

    there are no violations of copyright laws

    or Hippa Laws of Privacy.

    Shelby A. (Lex) Riggs II

    Please note that all photographs were sent in by former students of Henderson City High School. They have all been edited, corrected & cleaned up as well as they possibly could. If you are displeased with a photo, simply scan the photo that you want replaced and I will be more than happy to replace it.
    Thanks for your support,
    Lex Riggs, webmaster