January 30, 2014
By Mark Janssen
It's hard to believe that it's been a bit more than 40 years ago this week that David Hall soared and snagged 27 rebounds against the Oklahoma Sooners.
Yup, it's been 43 years since that January 25, 1971, night in Ahearn Field House when the 6-foot-7 junior grabbed 27 boards to break the school mark of 26 shared by Jack Parr (vs. Drake in 1956) and Hayden Abbott (vs. Iowa State in 1958).
"It's not something you think about today, but I do remember that game," said the 63-year-old Hall, who is now the President of the University of the Virgin Islands. Chuckling, he added, "What I remember was hearing the announcement of the record and having Terry Snider step into the lane during a free throw to congratulate me and he was called for a lane violation.
"But it was a special moment," said Hall, who at one time held the state of Georgia high school record with 36 rebounds in a single game. "Rebounding was the thing that allowed me to excel at the college level. I wasn't the best shooter in the world, so rebounding was my calling card."
But honestly, Hall was much more than a rebounder. The record book of today continues to advertise Hall's total game heroics from four decades ago - 1969-70 through 1971-72.
· Hall's 27 rebound performance still stands today as a K-State record.
· Hall averaged 10.5 rebounds in 1970-71. Only one Wildcat has since averaged double-figures in rebounds. That was Michael Beasley with a 12.4 average in 2007-08.
· In a three-year career, Hall is one of just four players in K-State history to score at least 1,000 points (1,007, 23rd in KSU history) and snare at least 800 rebounds (827, 3rd in KSU history) in a career. The others are Bob Boozer, Jack Parr and Ed Nealy.
· Hall is one of just seven players in K-State history to average a double-double for a career with a 12.3 scoring average and 10.1 rebound average. Since 1972, only Beasley with one-year career averages of 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds, accomplished the feat. The others in the "Double-Double" class are Gene Williams, Willie Murrell, Bob Boozer, Jack Parr and Dick Knostman.
"Those are things that you don't take time to think about," said Hall who is also the last Wildcat player to start on two conference championship teams. "I didn't know the rebound record still existed, but it was a special time."
FACING TWO MAJOR CHALLENGES AT K-STATE:
A native of Savannah, Ga., it was Cotton Fitzsimmons who recruited Hall by first visiting one of his Beach High School practices, and then going on to meet his mother, who was hospitalized at the time.
After looking at Louisville, Oral Roberts and Michigan State, Hall said, "Honestly, Cotton was the reason I came to K-State. I really connected with him. He was a captivating person."
Arriving on campus before freshmen were eligible to play, Hall's varsity career started in 1969-70 with a Big 8 title under Fitzsimmons, and ended in 1971-72 with a second Big 8 championship under coach Jack Hartman.
"When I visited the facilities weren't that great, but Cotton did a good job of getting the locker room re-done," said Hall. "Ahearn was the biggest arena I had ever seen and I had never played on an elevated floor before. That was really different."
And, it was the first time that Hall ever played in an arena that had a dirt floor.
"I was on heavy medication for asthma and had to have an inhaler with me at all times," said Hall. "Really, the dust bothered me more in practice when the track team was working out around us more than during the games. But Steve Mitchell and I both had to use inhalers during time outs on occasion."
Coming from the south, the first challenge that Hall faced was being an African-American in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
"I felt the coldness, and it wasn't just the weather," said Hall. "I'm not sure if the campus was ready for the number of African-American players who were being recruited in football and basketball at that time. Things were difficult for us from simple things as not having a barber in town to cut our hair ... we had to go to Junction City for that ... to not having a radio station to wake up to that played the music that we were used to. It just didn't exist.
LEADING TO PRESIDENT HALL:
While a 10th round NBA draft choice of the Cincinnati Royals, Hall opted for two professional seasons in Italy before returning to the United States to put his Political Science major to work.
Hall received a doctor of jurisprudence from Oklahoma, plus earned a master's in Human Relations. He also holds an LL.M degree and a doctorate of juridical science from Harvard Law School.
For 25 years, Hall taught at Mississippi, Oklahoma and Northeastern University, where he would later be the first African-American to be appointed dean of the Northeastern University School of Law. He also was recognized as a "Trailblazer" by the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, and was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors.
Today, Hall is in his fifth year as President of the University of Virgin Islands, which has an enrollment of 2,500 on its campuses in St. Thomas and St. Croix.
"My dream at Kansas State was to be a lawyer. I remember in college interviews I would talk about becoming a lawyer as one of my goals," said Hall. "It was while serving as Dean of the Northeastern School of Law that I felt that I had developed the leadership skills to perhaps lead a university. UVI has given me that opportunity."
K-STATE'S CAREER 'DOUBLE-DOUBLE' AVERAGE CLUB:
Michael Beasley, 2007-08 26.2 Pts 12.4 Reb
David Hall, 1969-72 12.3 Pts 10.1 Reb
Gene Williams, 1967-69 10.1 Pts 10.8 Reb
Willie Murrell, 1962-63 20.6 Pts 10.7 Reb
Bob Boozer, 1957-59 21.9 Pts 10.7 Reb
Jack Parr, 1956-58 16.9 Pts 12.7 Reb
Dick Knostman, 1950-53 14.6 Pts 10.5 Reb
Ed Nealy, 1978-82 1,069 Rebounds (4 years)
Jack Parr, 1956-1958 889 Rebounds (3 years)
David Hall, 1970-72 827 Rebounds (3 years)
Bob Boozer, 1957-59 824 Rebounds (3 years)