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Basketball Coaching Legend Clarence "Big House" Gaines Commemorated In Paducah

Ebony Clark, WKMS

Friends and colleagues of basketball coaching legend Clarence “Big House” Gaines gathered in his hometown of Paducah Monday to honor him with a monument and street dedication.

Gaines garnered numerous achievements during his decades-long career and is one of a few African American coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He died in 2005.


Billy Rich was a sports reporter and photographer in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where Gaines coached.

“I’ve heard so much about Paducah through coach Gaines- him growing up and the hotel and things like that- and to be here in this town where coach grew up, I am so excited.”


Credit Ebony Clark, WKMS

  Gaines’ monument is in Robert Coleman Park. Paducah’s 7th Street was renamed to “Clarence Gaines Street” and sits close to his church and his former family business the Hotel Metropolitan.


Notable figures in attendance were University of Memphis and former University of Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith, and Gaines' children, former New York Knicks VP player Clarence Gaines Jr. and founder of Research Explorers Lisa Gaines McDonald among others. The event coincided with Paducah's Emancipation Day celebration.




Ebony Clark is a student at Murray State University majoring in computer science. She was born in Brownsville, Tennessee. Ebony has served as a reporter for 4-H congress in Nashville, TN where she spoke with several state leaders and congressmen. Ebony enjoys writing poetry and spoken word and competed in Tennessee's Poetry Out Loud competition hosted by the arts council in Nashville,TN.
Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at!
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