Bennie Purcell, basketball player, Died at 87


Bennie Purcell was born on January 2, 1929, and died on February 12, 2016.

He was a basketball player.

He became a tennis coach at Murray State University, coaching the Racers for 28 years.

Bennie Purcell teams won 11 Ohio Valley Conference men’s tennis championships, and he was eight times selected OVC Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year.

Earlier, Bennie played basketball at Murray State and was the first player in school history to score more than 1,000 points for his career, finishing with 1,054 points from 1948-52.

Bennie Purcell was twice selected All-OVC and earned all-America honors after his play at the small college NAIB tournament in Kansas City in 1952.

Following his college career, he toured with the Harlem Globetrotters before returning to Murray to serve as assistant basketball coach under Cal Luther before later taking over as the head tennis coach in 1968.

He was a member of Murray State’s athletics hall of fame and his No. 21 was one of nine retired by Murray State for basketball.

And was inducted into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame in 1990, the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

The Murray State’s tennis courts were named in his honor.

His son, former professional tennis player Mel Purcell, succeeded him as head tennis coach at Murray State in 1996.

Bennie Purcell passed away at 87 yrs old.