The Clarence "Big House" Gaines monument, street unveiling and banquet will take place next week. Gaines was a Paducah-native and college men's basketball coach with a 47-year coaching career at Winston-Salem State University and one of the few African Americans to be inducted as a coach into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
On Monday, August 7, the Paducah/McCracken County NAACP presents “Welcome Home” for the 8th of August Emancipation Celebration in honor of Gaines. The monument unveiling will take place at 12 pm at Coleman Park, followed by the street unveiling at 1 pm at Burks Chapel. A reception will be held at 1:30 at the Hotel Metropolitan.
The banquet is at 6:30 pm at the Robert Cherry Civic Center. Tickets are $30 each or $50 for a couple. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling 270.519.5391.
Some confirmed banquet guests include WSSU Athletic Director Tonia Walker, Associate Commissioner Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Marcus Grant, former US Olympic Track Coach George Williams, his son and New York Knicks VP Player Personnel Clarence Gaines, Jr., daughter and founder of Research Explorers Lisa Gaines McDonald, Coach Tubby Smith, former player & former WSSU Athletic Administrator Tim Grant, Winston-Salem Journalist William H. Turner, and film producer David Soloman.
The W.C. Young Community Center has several events going on this week into next. On August 2, there is a Back to School Street Dance from 6pm-dusk and an Open House at 7 pm.
There will be a free Riverfront concert at 6 pm on the Riverfront Stage on August 3.
Join the youth activities on August 4-5 beginning at noon. There will be live entertainment, food, vendors, and inflatables at Robert Coleman Park.
August 4, there is an Emancipation Dance at the Robert Cherry Civic Center 9 pm.
August 5, there is a parade at 11 am and the People’s Choice NeighborHOOD awards at the Robert Cherry CC at 5 pm.
August 6 brings a salute to Gospel Music & Memorial at 4 pm at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church.
August 8 from 7-11 am, there will be a breakfast at the WC Young CC.
For more information, visit facebook.com/WcyoungCommunityCenter/.
Clarence Gaines, a native of Paducah, had his best season was in 1966-67, when he guided Winston-Salem State to a 31-1 record and the Division II title. The Rams were the first basketball program from a historically black college to win a national championship.
Clarence “Big House” Gaines, as he was known, went on to coach The Rams and had 828 victories at Winston-Salem State University - ranking fifth on the career list among men's college basketball coaches. Gaines had a record of 828-447, coaching from 1946 to 1993. Only four men's coaches in N.C.A.A. history - Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight and Jim Phelan - have more victories. Gaines's team won the Division II national championship in 1967, led by guard Earl Monroe, who went on to star with the Knicks.
Gaines was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.