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John “Whack” Hyder recalls a chat aback in 1955 with The Baron, Kentucky’s allegorical basketball drillmaster Adolph Rupp, who was in boondocks to face the Yellow Jackets on the Georgia Tech campus.
“Coach Rupp asked me if I would accommodated and allocution with him afterwards convenance here,” accompanying Hyder, apropos to tiny Heisman Gym, area the Jackets played their home amateur (occupied the armpit alfresco of the North end area to Bobby Dodd Stadium). “I said yes.”
“When I showed up, he was amidst by his team. He asked me two questions.”
What’s your aim in basketball?
What do you apprehend to achieve in a gym like this?
Hyder said, “I told him my aboriginal aim was for our kids to advance a acceptable moral life. Next I capital them to graduate. And third, back it came time, I capital them to apply on basketball.”
“You can’t do that,” replied Rupp. “Boys aren’t that way anymore.”
That aforementioned season, Hyder, the man of folksy, chapped philosophy, pulled two beauteous upsets of No. 1-ranked Kentucky, appropriately starting Hyder’s acceptability as a behemothic killer. Hyder absent to the fabulous Rupp and his Kentucky aggregation 16 times in his apprenticeship career. That was no disgrace. Hyder won nine times. That was an exceptional feat.
““He fabricated me feel like a affiliate of the family. He talked added about the accent of a acceptable apprenticeship than he did about basketball. I acquainted like arena for Drillmaster Hyder was activity to be a absolute access on my life. And it was.””
Born July 10, 1912 in Lula, Ga., Hyder was one of the best all-around athletes in Georgia Tech history, book in basketball, baseball, cantankerous country and track. He additionally becoming a apprentice letter in football, the action in which he accustomed his scholarship to Georgia Tech because there were no basketball scholarships in those days.
After admission from Georgia Tech in 1937, he alive a able baseball arrangement and played three years in the New York Yankees acreage system.
After a assignment in the U.S. Navy in Apple War II, Hyder alternate to Tech in 1946. He was assassin as an abettor basketball drillmaster by administrator of contest William Alexander, the aforementioned man who had offered him a scholarship to Tech afterwards watching him comedy basketball for Monroe A&M basic school.
Hyder was animated from abettor to arch drillmaster above-mentioned to the 1951-52 season, and for 22 years, he guided the Yellow Jacket basketball fortunes. He retired on St. Valentine’s Day in 1973. He won amateur and absent games, including the aboriginal NCAA actualization in academy history in 1960 and two trips to the finals of the Civic Invitation Tournament.
Hyder was alert called SEC Drillmaster of the Year, and he is a affiliate of the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame and the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Hyder aggregate an all-embracing almanac of 292-271 (.519) and was Tech’s winningest basketball drillmaster until surpassed in 1996 by Bobby Cremins. For the years in which his teams played in Alexander Memorial Coliseum, which opened in 1956-57, Hyder’s almanac was 251-189 (.570).
But there was abundant added to Hyder than apprenticeship games.
“The affair about Drillmaster Hyder,” recalled one of his superstar players, Rich Yunkus, “is that he advised all his players as animal beings and not as animals actuality led by the nose. He had a 18-carat affair for his players and he was proud. All but one of those who played for him the abounding four years graduated.
“Above all, he insisted aloft an apprenticeship and this he told every recruit.”
Roger Kaiser, who played for Hyder from 1958-61 and became the aboriginal All-American in Tech history, concurred.
“He was my ancestor abroad from home. I consistently admired him. I capital to accord him 100 percent effort, 100 percent of the time. He fabricated me feel I was capital and needed. He got his bulletin beyond to the players, and he did afterwards analytical anyone.”
Kaiser, who won four NAIA civic titles as a arch coach, was a awful recruited prepster from Dale, Ind., who was headed for Vanderbilt or Indiana back he met Hyder and afflicted his plans.
“Coach Hyder was warm, empathetic,” said Kaiser. “He fabricated me feel like a affiliate of the family. He talked added about the accent of a acceptable apprenticeship than he did about basketball. I acquainted like arena for Drillmaster Hyder was activity to be a absolute access on my life. And it was.”
Long afterwards he retired, Hyder remained alive in the program, analogous the anniversary Alumni Game.
“I accede Drillmaster Hyder a abutting claimed acquaintance and a man I absolutely respect,” said Cremins.
Upon Hyder’s retirement afterward the 1972-73 season, at Whack Hyder Night accustomed by accompany and above players, he said, “All of you apperceive me as Whack. But my name is Johnny and tonight I feel like my aftermost name’s Wooden.
“I’m not the greatest drillmaster in the world, not by any amplitude of the imagination, but I’m a actual beholden and apprehensive man tonight.”
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