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WKU Hilltopper Legend John Oldham Passes Away

J.C. Kirby & Son Funeral Chapels

Western Kentucky University is mourning the loss of one of the school’s most beloved athletics figures.

John Oldham passed away Monday morning in Bowling Green.

He was 97 years old.

“We are very saddened to learn of the passing of John Oldham,” WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart said.  “Coach Oldham is one of the all-time iconic figures in Western Kentucky University Athletics history who impacted the Hilltoppers as a player, head coach, athletics director and developer of the Red Towel athletics logo."

The Ohio County native played four seasons with the WKU men’s basketball team, and served three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II after his freshman season.

He earned All-American honors in 1949, and helped lead the team to four conference championships.

He coached the Hilltoppers from 1964-71, winning 78% of his games, the best in school history. He coached the school's 1971 Final Four team.

Oldham later served as the school’s Athletic Director from 1971-86.

A private funeral service is planned for Monday in Bowling Green, at J.C. Kirby & Son Funeral Chapel on Lover’s Lane. Burial, with full military honors, will be at Fairview Cemetery.

His family is planning a memorial service in the spring.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.