(AP) — Former Mississippi State University basketball player and coach Joe Dan Gold has died after a lengthy illness. He was 68.
Gold, a Benton, Ky., native, averaged 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game from 1961 to ‘63 as the Bulldogs won or shared three Southeastern Conference titles. During his career, Mississippi State had a 65-13 overall record, including 36-6 in SEC play.
The 6-foot-5 senior was a team captain as a senior, leading the Bulldogs to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1963, where they lost to Loyola of Chicago 61-51 in the first round. It was the first game Mississippi State played against black players.
The Bulldogs, who were coached by Babe McCarthy, had to sneak out of the state for the game because of an unwritten rule that state universities would not play integrated teams. Then MSU President Dr. Dean Wallace Colvard also helped the Bulldogs make the trip, defying Gov. Ross Barnett and a court injunction by the Mississippi legislature.
“I would like to express my sincerest sympathies to the family of Joe Dan Gold,” MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a released statement. “He was a great Bulldog and a leader on one of the greatest teams in school history, the 1963 team that played in the NCAA tournament, a moment in history that will never be forgotten.”
Gold coached at Mississippi State from 1965-1970, with a 51-74 record over five seasons.
He also coached at Paducah Community College and Mercer in the 1970s before entering into high school administration in Kentucky.
He is survived by his wife, Rosemarie Gold; two children, John Douglas Gold and wife Christy Norris Gold of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; JoMarie Gold Richardson and husband William of Milford, Ohio; his mother, Violet Louise Gold of Benton, Ky.; four grandchildren, Billie Jo Richardson, Haylee Noel Gold, Samuel Douglas Richardson, Jack Douglas Gold; one step grandchild, Courtney Hauck; one step great-grandchild, Will Hauck; two brothers, William Dale Gold and wife Shelia; and Robert Edwin Gold and wife Pat, all of Benton, Ky; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m., Saturday, April 16, 2011 at Morgan Central Elementary School in West Liberty, Ky with the Rev. Richard Anderson and the Rev. Sammy E. Harris officiating and at 2 p.m. Monday, April 18, 2011 at Collier Funeral Home in Benton, Ky with the Rev. Rodney Wallace officiating. Burial will follow in the Maple Springs Cemetery, Rt. 68 in Benton, Ky. Visitations will be held from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 16, 2011 at Morgan Central Elementary School in West Liberty, Ky and 5-8 p.m., Sunday, April 17, 2011 at the Collier Funeral Home in Benton, Ky. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.
Memorials are suggested to: Morehead State University College of Education, MSU Foundation; Sports Crusaders; The American Cancer Society; or Mississippi State University M Club.