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Kenneth Franklin Trickey Sr. (August 30, 1933[1] – December 4, 2012) was an American basketball coach, best known for his two stints as the head coach for the men's basketball team at Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[2] He was especially remembered for ORU's high-scoring "run and gun" teams of the early 1970s, which helped the young, small school attain national attention[3][4] and competitive success, including a spot in the Elite Eight in the 1974 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.[2] After his death in 2012, the Tulsa World called him "one of the most influential and colorful characters in this state’s basketball history".[2]

Ken Trickey
Biographical details
BornAugust 30, 1933
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
DiedDecember 4, 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1965–1969Middle Tennessee
1969–1974Oral Roberts
1974–1976Iowa State
1979–1981Oklahoma City
1987–1993Oral Roberts

Early lifeEdit

Trickey was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri[1] and grew up in Cairo, Illinois. He graduated from Cairo High School[5] and then attended Middle Tennessee State University, where he became the school's all-time basketball scoring leader.[2] After graduation he spent two years in the Army, then moved into high school coaching at Culver Military Academy, at Tullahoma High School in Tennessee, and at his alma mater, Cairo High School.[6]

College coaching careerEdit

Middle Tennessee State UniversityEdit

Trickey became head coach at Middle Tennessee State in 1965. He was the first MTSU coach to recruit black players, and in 1967 he had the first all-black starting team in Ohio Valley Conference history.[7] He remained at MTSU until 1969. During his tenure, his teams' overall record was 45-54. He was inducted into MTSU's hall of fame in 1991.[8]

Oral Roberts University (first stint)Edit

Trickey took the head coaching job at ORU in 1969 and made an immediate impact with his high-offense approach. He quickly recruited several top prospects from Tennessee, most notably Richard Fuqua, a prep All-American who became one of the nation's leading scorers at ORU[9] and was named a second team All-American in 1972. With the strong support of school founder Oral Roberts, who saw the basketball program as a way to bring positive attention to his school and his Christian ministry, the team traveled to games around the country, and was widely noted for what Trickey called its "WRAG" ("We Run and Gun") offense.[10][11] Trickey's teams led the nation in scoring twice,[12] and went to the National Invitational Tournament in 1972 and 1973. In 1974 the team received its first bid to the NCAA tournament; ORU was also the host for that year's Midwest Regional, at the Mabee Center in Tulsa. An upset win over Louisville moved the team into the Elite Eight, needing only one more win on its home floor to move to the Final Four, but ORU lost 93-90 in overtime to Kansas. During his five years, his teams had an overall record of 118-23.

Iowa State UniversityEdit

Leaving ORU after the 1973-1974 season, Trickey briefly served as an assistant coach under Jim Williams at Colorado State[13] then was hired as the head coach at Iowa State.[6] He did not meet the same level of success he had at ORU. In his two seasons, his teams had an overall record of 13-40.[14]

In 1976 he became the coach at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Illinois.[15] In December 1976 he took on the job of reviving the basketball program at Claremore Junior College (now Rogers State University).[16]

Oklahoma City UniversityEdit

Trickey was the head coach at Oklahoma City University from 1979 to 1981. His teams had an overall record of 27-30, and won the 1981 championship tournament of the Midwestern City League (now the Horizon League).[17] Trickey's tenure was marked by an NCAA investigation of the athletic program,[18] which resulted in sanctions against the school after he left.[19]

Trickey subsequently became head coach and athletic director at Century High School in Ullin, Illinois, near Cairo.[20] Trickey was working as the golf director at a state park resort) when he was hired in 1986 to start a basketball program at Oklahoma Junior College, formerly the Oklahoma School of Accountancy.[21] Among his OJC players was future NBA star John Starks.[22][23]

Oral Roberts University (second stint)Edit

In 1987, ORU's founder Oral Roberts hired Trickey to return to the school at a time when the institution was facing both financial difficulty and an investigation for possible rules violations in the sports program. Trickey supervised a move from the NCAA to the NAIA.[12] He coached from 1987 to 1993 and had an overall record of 96-93. ORU elected him to its athletics hall of fame in 2009.[24][25]

In 2003, Trickey became head coach at Muskogee High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma[26] and coached one season.[27]


Trickey died on December 4, 2012 in Tulsa. According to the obituary at his official website, the cause of death was complications of cancer and Alzheimer's disease.[28]


  1. ^ a b "Ken Trickey", The Oklahoman, May 6, 2001.
  2. ^ a b c d Jimmie Tramel, "Former ORU coach Ken Trickey dies", Tulsa World, December 4, 2012 (pay site).
  3. ^ Robert H. Boyle, "Oral Roberts: Small But Oh, My!", Sports Illustrated, November 30, 1970.
  4. ^ Milton Richman, "Oral Roberts on the Map: Thanks to coaching of Ken Trickey", UPI in Beaver County Times, February 17, 1972.
  5. ^ "Trickey returns 'home' to ORU for hoop revival", The Southeast Missourian, July 17, 1987.
  6. ^ a b "Ken Trickey replaces John at Iowa State", Associated Press in The Telegraph-Herald, August 22, 1974.
  7. ^ Adam Sparks, "Breaking barriers on the boards", The Daily News Journal, February 14, 2007.
  8. ^ Ken Trickey Archived 2012-06-09 at the Wayback Machine at Blue Raider Hall of Fame (accessed 2012-12-04).
  9. ^ Ken Bunch, "Oral Roberts Sets Record in Going Big-Time", Milwaukee Sentinel, March 1, 1972.
  10. ^ "Oral Roberts has faith in basketball", New York Times News Service in The Miami News, December 7, 1971.
  11. ^ David Edwin Harrell, Oral Roberts: An American Life (Indiana University Press, 1985), ISBN 978-0253158444, pp.244-247. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  12. ^ a b Michael Jaffe, "Naia", Sports Illustrated, November 19, 1990.
  13. ^ "Ken Trickey Happy in Assistant Role", Associated Press in Observer–Reporter, July 10, 1974.
  14. ^ Randy Peterson, "Iowa State men's basketball: Former coach Trickey dies at 79", Des Moines Register, December 4, 2012 (pay site).
  15. ^ "Trickey accepts post at Illinois high school", UPI in The Telegraph-Herald, August 8, 1976.
  16. ^ "Trickey returns to Oklahoma", Associated Press in Tuscaloosa News, December 22, 1976.
  17. ^ "Former OCU coach Trickey dies", Oklahoma City University press release, December 4, 2012.
  18. ^ "Ken Trickey reinstated", Associated Press in Tri City Herald, November 18, 1980.
  19. ^ Kathy Perovich and Jerry McConnell, "OCU Probation Pierces Trickey, Nichols", The Oklahoman, January 8, 1983.
  20. ^ Bob Colon, "Ex-OCU Coach Trickey Answers NCAA's Charges, The Oklahoman, January 9, 1983.
  21. ^ Scott Munn, "Building Juco Program Just Another Trickey Job", The Oklahoman, January 16, 1986.
  22. ^ Jim Lassiter, "A Star Is Born At OJC", The Oklahoman, January 23, 1987.
  23. ^ John Starks and Dan Markowitz, John Starks: My Life (Sports Publishing LLC, 2004), ISBN 978-1582618029, pp. 55-61. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  24. ^ "ORU Names Six to Athletics Hall of Fame", Oral Roberts University, January 6, 2009.
  25. ^ "ORU Mourns the Passing of Ken Trickey", Oral Roberts University, December 4, 2012.
  26. ^ Mike Strain, "Muskogee names Trickey coach", The Oklahoman, July 1, 2003.
  27. ^ Kenton Brooks, "MHS boys coach relieved of duties; girls coach resigns", Muskogee Phoenix, February 26, 2008.
  28. ^ Obituary Archived 2012-12-23 at the Wayback Machine at Ken Trickey official website (accessed 2012-12-05).

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