CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hal Greer, the first black player in Marshall University basketball, was named Saturday to the Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield, Mass.
Greer, 45, of Philadelphia, will be inducted May 3 with three NBA contemporaries -- Frank Ramsey, Willis Reed and Slater Martin, coaches Everett Case of North Carolina State, Clarence 'Big House' Gaines of Winston-Salem (N.C.) State and NAIA administrator Al O. Duer.
The 10-time NBA All-Star guard with Syracuse and Philadelphia averaged 19.2 points from 1959 through 1974. At Marshall, he averaged 19.4 points as a slender, leaping forward and center.
In his senior year of 1958 at Marshall, Greer averaged 23.6 points and teammate Leo Byrd averaged 24.9 points. Both Greer and Byrd have been inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Greer averaged 13.8 rebounds in the 1957 season, and in 1956 he was a sophomore starter on a veteran team which produced Marshall's only Mid-American Conference champion.
Recruited out of segregated Huntington Douglass High School, Greer played three Marshall seasons under Jule Rivlin, winning 50 games and losing 21. It was largely on Rivlin's recommendation to acquaintances in the NBA that the thin, wiry Greer, standing about 6-2, was even given an opportunity to try out. Additionally, he played up front in college, and would have to learn to play guard in the pros.
Greer's shooting was a plus. His 60 percent shooting mark in the 1956 season stood as a school record until 1977 when Bunny Gibson made 60.5 percent of his shots.
Known for his jump shots from around the foul line, Greer adjusted magnificently to guard in the NBA. He played with Wilt Chamberlain on the Philadelphia team which won the NBA championship in 1968 and is considered by many the greatest basketball team of all time.
Despite his slight frame, Greer turned out to be one of basketball's more durable players. He was one of only five players who spent 15 seasons in the NBA. The others were John Havlicek, Paul Silas, Dolph Schayes and Lenny Wilkens.
Greer has coached the Philadelphia Kings of the Continental Basketball League and coached at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa.
One of Huntington's main thoroughfares is named 'Hal Greer Boulevard' in his honor.
Greer has three children -- daughters Kelly, 15, and Sherry, 9, and son, Hal Jr., 13.