Hal Greer statue plans to be unveiled during WKU halftime ceremony

Updated 23 weeks ago Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University is set to unveil the design of a statue honoring the late Hal Greer at this Saturday's Men's Basketball Alumni Weekend game against Western Kentucky.

The Greer family, including his wife and children, and the sculptor chosen for the project, Huntington's Frederick Hightower, will participate in a halftime ceremony that will include a video tribute and the public's first glimpse of the model sculpture. Hightower will soon begin work on a statue that is expected to stand 7 feet, 5 inches tall.

"Hal Greer is a trailblazer," said Mike Hamrick, Marshall's Director of Athletics. "He set the stage for black athletes throughout our great state and country. His ability on the court is unquestioned. He took his talents from Huntington to Marshall and then to the NBA, where he is regarded as one of the greatest players of all-time. This statue is a deserved tribute for Hal and his family."

Hightower was selected by a committee formed by Marshall president Jerome A. Gilbert, who wanted to erect a memorial for Greer following his death in April. Greer, who died at the age of 81, is a Huntington native who attended Douglass High School and then Marshall as the school's first black scholarship athlete. He is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame.

"He's one of the best athletes to come from Huntington, West Virginia, hands down," Hightower said. "He was the major person in Huntington and his name, Hal Greer, resonates. For me to do this is an honor. He's a major part of the community I grew up in. I've been in his shadow my whole life. This means a lot to me."

The selection committee was made up of representatives of the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, athletic department, the College of Arts and Media, the administration and faculty, and included one person who played with Hal and knew him well, and one a person who is a sculptor.

"It is absolutely fitting that Marshall University honor not only one of the finest student-athletes ever to play here, but also our first black scholarship student-athlete," Gilbert said. "I've talked to a number of people who knew Hal and I'm incredibly proud to call him a Son of Marshall. He was a great basketball player and, as I've been told, a wonderful person and role model. One of my hopes since coming to Marshall was that there would be another opportunity to highlight Hal's legacy at Marshall. I can't wait to see the finished statue."

Green was born on June 26, 1936. He scored 1,377 points and led Marshall to the 1956 Mid-American Conference championship and the program's first NCAA tournament berth. Greer's wife, Mayme, will be part of Saturday's ceremony, as well as daughters Kelly and Cherie, son Harold Jr., and Greer's sister, Jean.

Those interested in contributing to the project should visit HerdZone.com or call the Big Green at 304-696-4661. The Big Green offices are located at 1900 3rd Avenue on the left side of the City National Bank building.

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