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WKU basketball legend passes away at 93

‘Tom’ Marshall was an All-American, played in the NBA in the 1950s.
1954 Talisman photo
John ‘Tom’ Marshall

John “Tom” Marshall, a WKU basketball legend and wearer of the retired number 41 jersey, passed away peacefully Friday, May 10, in Fort Myers, Florida. He was 93 years old and is survived by his wife Betty.

Originally from Mount Juliet, Tennessee, Marshall played at WKU from 1950 to 1954 and developed a knockout resume.

Marshall’s record as a Hilltopper was a staggering 99-9 with two OVC regular season championship titles (‘51-52 and ‘53-54) and two OVC tournament championship titles (‘52-53 and ‘53-54).

A 6-foot-4-inch forward, Marshall was a force offensively and defensively. He’s ranked 4th in WKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,909 points, and he ranks 2nd in WKU’s all-time leading rebounds with 1,225.

Marshall was a two-time All-American, joining only two other players from WKU to have ever been given All-America honors (Clem Haskins in 1967 and Jim McDaniels in 1971).

After his senior season, Marshall was selected by the Rochester Royals as the 7th pick in the first round of the NBA draft.

According to Paul Just, WKU Sports Information Director Emeritus, writing for WNKY, Marshall went on to play four seasons with the Royals and one year with the Detroit Pistons. His last season (‘58-59) was with the Royals, and he served as team “player-coach.”

After Marshall retired as a player, he was hired as the Royals’ head coach in December 1958, and went on to coach only one season (‘59-60).

Reporter Cameron Shaw can be reached at [email protected].

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