Home News 1956 Basketball Gold...

1956 Basketball Gold Medalist, University Of Kentucky Legend Billy Evans Passes Away At 88

By Todd Kortemeier | Nov. 30, 2020, 12:17 p.m. (ET)

Billy Evans was a member of the U.S. Men's Basketball Team that competed at the Olympic Games Melbourne 1956.



Billy Evans, a gold medalist on the 1956 U.S. Olympic basketball team, passed away Nov. 22 at the age of 88.

Evans was perhaps not the most nationally known name on the squad that won its fourth consecutive gold medal at the Games in Melbourne, Australia — the team also included future NBA legends Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. But Evans was a legend in his own right back in his home state of Kentucky. Evans was a fan favorite at the University of Kentucky in three seasons from 1952 to 1955.

A versatile forward who also played tennis and baseball at Kentucky, Evans helped the 1953-54 Wildcats to a perfect 25-0 record and a Helms Foundation national championship. The Wildcats won SEC conference titles in each of Evans’ three seasons. He was a charter member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame and was honored with his No. 42 jersey hanging in the rafters of Rupp Arena.

Evans was a draft choice of the Rochester Royals in 1955, one year before his gold-medal run in Melbourne. Evans played again with Team USA at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago, where the U.S. won its third consecutive gold medal.

Evans is survived by his wife Nancy and daughters Sallie and Allison.

Todd Kortemeier

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.