Edgar Diddle

Edgar Diddle
Sport(s) Basketball, baseball, football
Biographical details
Born (1895-03-12)March 12, 1895
Gradyville, Kentucky
Died January 2, 1970(1970-01-02) (aged 74)
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Alma mater Centre College
Playing career
1917 Centre
1919-1920 Centre
1917 Centre
1919-1920 Centre
Position(s) Halfback (football)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1922-1928 Western Kentucky
1922–1964 Western Kentucky
Head coaching record
Overall 759–302(.715)
Tournaments NCAA: 3–4(.429)
NIT: 7–9(.438)
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1972 (profile)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Edgar Allen Diddle (March 12, 1895 – January 2, 1970) was an American college men's basketball coach. He is known for coaching at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky from 1922 to 1964. Diddle became the first coach in history to coach 1,000 games at one school. Diddle was known for waving a red towel around along the sidelines during his games. He was known to wave, toss, and chew on this towel, and even cover his face in times of disappointment. His red towel is now part of WKU's official athletic logo. Diddle experienced only five losing seasons in 42 years and averaged 25 wins per year overall.

He was born in Gradyville, Kentucky.

Diddle's teams claimed 32 conference championships; played in 11 postseason tournaments; won 20+ games eighteen different times, (including one stretch of ten years in a row); became the first team from the South to participate in the Olympic Trials; and won an amazing 759 games. When he stepped down in 1964 Diddle had won more games than any coach in NCAA history and today he still ranks in the top ten on the all-time list.

While Diddle was best known for coaching men's basketball, he also coached football (1922-1928) baseball (1923-1957) and women's basketball at WKU, although men's basketball was his only coaching job for the vast majority of his tenure at the school.[1]

Prior to coming to Western Kentucky, Diddle played basketball and football for Centre College and was a member of their 1919 undefeated basketball team and 1919 undefeated football team.[2] He was a halfback on the football team.[3] After college he coached basketball at Monticello High School, where he guided the team to the Kentucky State Tournament semi-finals, and then Greenville High School, which played in a regional tournament at Bowling Green. During the tournament, he came to the attention of officials at Western Kentucky who offered him the coaching position at the college.

E. A. Diddle Arena, the basketball venue at WKU, built in 1963, is named for him. For the last six years of his life, Diddle was a fixture at the arena, even leading cheers. During a 1968 game against Dayton, he jumped on top of a press table to lead the students in cheers. When a Dayton sportswriter told him to get down, Diddle snapped, "What do you mean I can't get on top of this table? This is my damn gym!".[4]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Independent) (1922–1948)
1922–23 Western Kentucky 12–2
1923–24 Western Kentucky 9–9
1924–25 Western Kentucky 8–6
1925–26 Western Kentucky 10–4
1926–27 Western Kentucky 12–7
1927–28 Western Kentucky 10–7
1928–29 Western Kentucky 8–10
1929–30 Western Kentucky 4–12
1930–31 Western Kentucky 11–3
1931–32 Western Kentucky 15–8 1st KIAC
1932–33 Western Kentucky 16–6 1st KIAC
1933–34 Western Kentucky 28–8 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1934–35 Western Kentucky 24–3 1st KIAC
1935–36 Western Kentucky 26–4 1st KIAC National Olympics
1936–37 Western Kentucky 21–2 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1937–38 Western Kentucky 30–3 1st KIAC 1st SIAA NAIA (Forfeit)
1938–39 Western Kentucky 22–3 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1939–40 Western Kentucky 24–6 1st KIAC 1st SIAA NCAA Elite Eight
1940–41 Western Kentucky 22–4 1st SIAA
1941–42 Western Kentucky 29–5 1st KIAC 1st SIAA NIT Runner-up
1942–43 Western Kentucky 24–3 1st KIAC NIT Quarterfinals
1943–44 Western Kentucky 13–9
1944–45 Western Kentucky 17–10
1945–46 Western Kentucky 15–19
1946–47 Western Kentucky 25–4 1st KIAC 1st SIAA
1947–48 Western Kentucky 28–2 1st KIAC NIT 3rd Place
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (Ohio Valley Conference) (1948–1964)
1948–49 Western Kentucky 25–4 8–2 1st NIT Quarterfinals
1949–50 Western Kentucky 25–6 8–0 1st NIT Quarterfinals
1950–51 Western Kentucky 19–10 4–4 4th NCT 1st Round
1951–52 Western Kentucky 26–5 11–1 1st NIT Quarterfinals
1952–53 Western Kentucky 25–6 8–2 2nd NIT Quarterfinals
1953–54 Western Kentucky 29–3 9–1 1st NIT 4th Place
1954–55 Western Kentucky 18–10 8–2 1st
1955–56 Western Kentucky 16–12 7–3 T-1st
1956–57 Western Kentucky 17–9 9–1 T-1st
1957–58 Western Kentucky 14–11 5–5 3rd
1958–59 Western Kentucky 16–10 8–4 2nd
1959–60 Western Kentucky 21–7 10–2 1st NCAA Second Round
1960–61 Western Kentucky 18–8 9–3 T-1st
1961–62 Western Kentucky 17–10 11–1 1st NCAA Second Round
1962–63 Western Kentucky 5–16 3–9 7th
1963–64 Western Kentucky 5–16 3–11 8th
Western Kentucky: 759–302 121–51
Total: 759-302

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also


  1. http://www.wkusports.com/page.cgi?page=Traditions#towel
  2. "Edgar Allen Diddle". Western Kentucky University Alumni. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  3. Frank G. Weaver. "Come On, You Praying Kentucians". Association Men. 45: 416.
  4. "The Story of Legendary WKU Basketball Coach E.A. Diddle". Western Kentucky University. Retrieved March 5, 2014.

External links

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