Community remembers King Kelly Coleman as basketball legend, community leader

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WAYLAND, Ky. (WYMT) - Mountain basketball legend King Kelly Coleman died earlier this week. His visitation started Friday morning at the old Wayland gym and people from across the state showed up to pay their respects.

Coleman was Kentucky's first Mr. Basketball. To honor him, a lot of Mr. Basketballs who knew Coleman came to the visitation. Some of them said he was one of the greatest legends from Eastern Kentucky.

"He was an outstanding basketball player," said 1958 Mr. Basketball Ralph Richardson.

Julian Tackett said he knew Coleman for several years but heard about him long before they met.

"Got to hear some stories more than once but they were always good to hear," Tackett said. "Just a legend, literally, just his play and he still holds state records. He worked his tail off."

Coleman led the Wayland Wasps to a Sweet 16 appearance in 1956 and was named Mr. Basketball that same year.

"Where he practiced was the side of a hill. the ball rolled away every time he missed a goal," said Richardson.

But friends said in some ways, his skills on the court overshadowed his other traits.

"He did not just want to be viewed as a basketball player. He was a very successful man," said Tackett.

Coleman was also a businessman and leader in the community - respected and loved by many. You can read more about his accomplishments here. 

Funeral services will be at noon Saturday at Hall Funeral Home in Martin.

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