Kansas State Regrets the passing of Iconic Basketball Player Ernie Barrett, often known as ‘Mr. K-State,’ died at the age of 93.

Kansas State University is mourning the loss of one of its greatest basketball icons, Ernie Barrett, who died on April 15, 2023, at 93. Known as “Mr. K-State,” Barrett was a legend in K-State basketball history, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be remembered by the K-State community.

Ernie Barrett
Image source- USA Today

Who was Ernie Barrett?

Barrett was born in McPherson, Kansas, in 1929 and grew up in the small town of Wellington. He played basketball for Wellington High School before attending Kansas State University, where he played for the K-State Wildcats from 1949 to 1952.

As a K-State basketball player, Barrett stood out, leading the team to the NCAA Final Four in 1951 and earning All-American honors in 1952. He was also a 1952 U.S. Olympic basketball team member that won a gold medal in Helsinki, Finland. Barrett was known for his speed and agility on the court, as well as his tenacity and determination.

After playing, Barrett coached at K-State and was the school’s athletic director. He was an assistant coach under Tex Winter, considered the father of the triangle offense, later made famous by Phil Jackson and the Chicago Bulls. Barrett was also instrumental in recruiting the legendary K-State basketball player Bob Boozer.

What was Barrett’s Contribution to K-State as a Coach and Administrator?

In addition to his coaching and administrative roles at K-State, Barrett was also involved in the community. He served as the mayor of Manhattan, Kansas, from 1975 to 1977 and was a member of the Kansas State Board of Regents from 1979 to 1991. He was a member of the Manhattan Rotary Club and the Masonic Lodge and was involved in various other community organizations.

Barrett’s contributions to K-State basketball and the university were significant. He was inducted into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002, and his jersey number, 20, was retired by the university in 2005. He was also honored with a statue outside the Bramlage Coliseum, where the K-State basketball team plays its home games.

Who Ernie’s students and fans react to this shocking news?

Barrett’s death has left a vacuum in the K-State community, with many former players, coaches, and fans remembering the guy recognized for his passion and love for the institution. K-State President Richard Myers said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Ernie Barrett, a true K-State legend who gave so much to this university and its athletics program. His impact on K-State basketball and the university will never be forgotten.”

Barrett’s son, Bill, spoke about his father’s legacy: “He was a giant in the K-State community, and his impact was felt far beyond the basketball court. He was a mentor and a friend to many, and he will be deeply missed.”

The K-State basketball team also paid tribute to Barrett, with head coach Bruce Weber saying, “Ernie Barrett was a great ambassador for K-State basketball and our university. His impact on this program and the lives of those he touched will be felt for generations to come.”

Barrett’s legacy at K-State will continue to live on, as his impact on the university and its athletics program will never be forgotten. The K-State community will always remember “Mr. K-State” as a legend in college basketball and a true icon of Kansas State University.

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