By Trent Knox
The day was March 6, 2011. The former Tennessee Vols head basketball coach Wade Houston watched his son, Allan Houston’s number 20 jersey hang from the rafters of the Thompson-Boling arena in Knoxville alongside other hall of famers Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld. Through all the difficult times Coach Houston would not have wished it any other way. Wade, along with his son Allen have laid the blueprint to a father son success story.
The Houston dynasty began in 1962 when Wade graduated from Charles M. Hall High School and became the first African-American basketball player to earn a scholarship at the University of Louisville. After playing all four years, he graduated from the University of Louisville in 1966 earning a Bachelor’s Degree and later a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology. Shortly after graduating Wade was named head coach of Male High School where he compiled a 90-12 record and led them to a state title in 1975. After the 1975 season, he became the first African American assistant coach for his alma mater Louisville. Through 13 seasons he helped lead four of his teams to the Final Four and finished his career at Louisville with 2 championships in 1980 and 1986.
This success gained Coach Houston attention on a national level. Attention that led to his hiring by the University of Tennessee (UTK) as the head men’s basketball coach in 1989. His hiring once again made history as it made him the first African American basketball coach in SEC history. An honor that he claimed was his “… greatest accomplishment and I was very thankful for.”
That very same year his son Allen Houston decided to take his talents to Knoxville to play for his father. When asked about coaching his son Coach Wade replied, “It was truly an honor, he was the most talented and dedicated player I have ever coached.” Although Wade’s success coaching basketball would eventually come to an end at UTK as he led the Vols to a 65-90 record, it was just the beginning for his son Allen.
Allen Houston made his father the proudest man alive by giving him the opportunity to coach his son at this level. Through four seasons Allen racked up 2,801 points which made him the all-time leading scorer in Tennessee history and second only to Pete Maravich in SEC history. In 1994 he was drafted 11 overall to the Detroit Pistons where he spent two seasons before he was traded to the New York Knicks where he spent the remainder of his career.
It’s fair to say the Houston’s know basketball. It is also fair to say that these two great basketball minds have made sure that they will never be forgotten for their efforts.