WKU Legends Feix, McDaniels To Be Inducted Into Kentucky Athletic Hall Of Fame

Bowling Green, Ky. — Two of the great names in the long, tradition-rich history of Western Kentucky University athletics — Jimmy Feix and Jim McDaniels — are among the list of nine individuals who have been selected for induction into the 2004 class of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Class of ’04 will be inducted Sept. 9 at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville. Tickets for the induction banquet are $50. Reservations can be made by calling (502) 637-7696.

The honorees were selected by a 12-person committee that included sportswriters, sportscasters and officers of the Hall of Fame.

Feix, Western’s first All-American on the gridiron and the winningest football coach in the school’s history, and McDaniels, a three-time Hilltopper basketball All-American and a consensus pick in 1971, will be a part of the 24th class of the state’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Feix spent more than four decades at Western as an athlete, coach and athletic director before retiring in 1990.

As a senior quarterback and WKU’s first All-American in 1952, he led the Hilltoppers to their first Ohio Valley Conference title and a victory in the school’s first bowl game (34-19 over Arkansas State in the Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Ind.).

He led the nation in pass-completion percentage (.631), hitting on 111 of 181. And, he racked up 3,765 yards in total offense and 30 touchdown passes in his career.

During Feix’s four-year career (1949-52), the Hilltoppers posted a 24-12-2 record. He was chosen all-OVC twice and in 1988 was named to the all-time OVC team. Feix was drafted by the New York Giants but suffered an injury in training camp and was advised to give up football.

He coached football at Western for 27 years, the last 16 as head coach. The only coach in WKU history to amass 100 victories on the gridiron, he guided the Hilltoppers to a 106-56-6 record from 1968 through ’83. His teams won or shared six OVC crowns and were runners-up in the NCAA Division II national championship playoffs in 1973 and ’75. He was OVC Coach of the Year in 1973, ’78 and ’80.

Feix served as Western’s athletic director from 1985 through ’91. On Oct. 26, 1991, Western named the football field at L.T. Smith Stadium Jimmy Feix Field. Feix is also a charter member of the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame and Western’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He lives in Bowling Green with his wife, Frankie.

McDaniels, one of the dominant players in college basketball from 1968-71, remains the all-time leading scorer at Western Kentucky. A 7-footer out of Allen County High School, he averaged 38.6 points a game as a senior and scored a Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Game record 42 points in 1967, a mark that still stands. He went on to average 27.6 points in 81 games at WKU, completing his career on The Hill with 2,238 points.

One of great shooters of all-time at his height, McDaniels paced the Hilltoppers to two OVC championships (1970 and ’71) and a berth in the 1971 NCAA Final Four, where Western finished in third place, defeating Kansas 77-75 in the consolation game after dropping a heart-breaking 92-89 double ovetime decision to Villanova in the semifinal contest.

McDaniels went on to play professional basketball for seven years, including an outstanding start for the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association. He was averraging 26.8 points a game through 58 games in Charlotte when he jumped to Seattle of the National Basketball Association. The remainder of his pro career was hampered by off-the-court problems arising from that move, limiting his effectiveness.

McDaniels and his wife, Caroline, now reside in Charlotte.

Others scheduled to be inducted in September are: Doug Buffone (former Unversity of Louisville and Chicago Bears football standout); Howard “Howie” Crittenden (basketball ball-handling wizard at Cuba High School and Murray State; now a resident of Bowling Green); Don Lane (long-time successfull Transylvania University men’s basketball coach); Tamara McKinney (former World Cup skiing champion); Tom Meeker (current Churchill Downs president); Ukari Figgs Moore (a member of championship basketball teams at three levels — Scott County High School, Purdue and the Los Angeles Sparks); and Bill Spivey (University of Kentucky basketball’s first 7-footer).

The addition of Feix and McDaniels to the membership of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame will bring to 14 the number of individuals with Western Kentucky University ties who have been similarly honored. Those previously honored are: * Nick Denes (former football and baseball coach),
* E.A. Diddle (former men’s basketball, baseball, football and women’s basketball coach),
* Geri Grigsby (former Lady Topper basketball standout who was one of Kentucky high school basketball’s all-time greats),
* Jack Harbaugh (former Hilltopper football coach who directed WKU football fortunes for 14 seasons, culminating in an NCAA national championship in 2002),
* Clem Haskins (former Hilltopper basketball consensus All-American, professional basketball standout and later coach at WKU),
* Bernard “Peck” Hickman (former Western basketball star and long-time coach at the University of Louisville),
* Ted Hornback (longtime WKU assistant basketball coach, head tennis coach and athletic administrator),
* John Oldham (basketball All-American and successful Topper men’s basketball coach who took Western to the NCAA Final Four in 1971),
* Gene Rhodes (former Western basketball and baseball star who enjoyed an outstanding career in the coaching ranks on the high school, college — assistant at WKU — and professional ranks),
* Charles Ruter (former Hilltopper basketball and baseball standout who enjoyed a successful career in the administration of national and international track and field),
* Wes Strader (a Western alumnus who served as the radio “Voice of the Hilltoppers” in football and men’s basketball from 1964-00),
* and, Van Vance (another WKU alumnus who was the long-time radio voice of University of Louisville football and men’s basketball).

— WKU —

information for this news release provided, with permission, by sportswriter Bob White