UK Athletics Hall of Famer Billy Evans Dead at 88

Helped lead Kentucky to a National Championship
Posted at 7:13 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 19:13:32-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Former University of Kentucky guard Billy Evans, who has his jersey hanging in the rafters at Rupp Arena, has passed away at the age of 88.

The Berea, Kentucky, native scored 716 career points at the varsity level to go along with 549 rebounds in 83 career games. He lettered for the Wildcats in 1952 and 1954-'55 while playing for legendary coach Adolph Rupp. “It’s special,” Evans said of his jersey retirement. “I don’t go around to everybody and say, ‘Look up there,’ but it’s an honor. I’m happy to be there.”

Evans was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame charter class after playing alongside Hall of Fame Wildcats Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulous. He averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds in his final season for Kentucky. Funny story is that he was an All-Southeastern Conference Third Team pick by the Associated press but he was declared ineligible for the postseason because he had already earned his degree.

During his time at Kentucky, the Wildcats were successful. He was 77-6 in three seasons including a 25-0 mark in the 1953-'54 season where the Cats were named National Champs. Evans also won a gold medal for the U.S. in the 1956 Olympics and the 1959 Pan American Games. He was drafted by the Rochester Royals in the 5th round of the 1955 NBA Draft.

Evans also played tennis and baseball at Kentucky. He was inducted into the State of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.

Evans is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his two daughters, Sallie Coryell and Allison Scanlan. Funeral arrangements are pending.