Don Lane, aka Donnie Lane, sharpshooter

February 1, 2017 FieldsColumn

BY MIKE FIELDS

Don Lane

For all he’s done for young people, Hall of Fame basketball coach Don Lane will receive the Jim Host Youth Sports Award at the Bluegrass Sports Commission’s annual banquet tonight at the Lexington Convention Center.

Lane led Transylvania to 509 victories in his 26 years as coach. He retired after leading the Pioneers to a No. 1 national ranking in 2001. His son Brian succeeded him as Transy’s coach.

Don Lane has been inducted into the Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame, the Transylvania Athletic Hall of Fame and the Union College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Don Lane first earned notice as Donnie Lane — a high school hotshot at Versailles.

He had a career-high 38 points as junior in a 63-59 victory over Georgetown on Feb. 2, 1960.

In March, 1961, the Lexington Herald recognized Lane’s performance in the regional tournament.

(His accomplishment was noted in the Lexington Herald a couple days later in an article written by a young sports writer named Billy Reed. Yes, the same Billy Reed who will receive the Bluegrass Sports Commission’s Tom Hammond Kentucky Sports Media Award tonight.)

Heading into Lane’s senior season, the Courier-Journal noted, “The pride and joy of the (Versailles) Yellow Jacket camp is guard Donnie Lane, a sharpshooting 5-6 senior who made 46.8% of his shots last season.” The C-J added that Lane was a straight-A student and president of the student council.

In March, 1961, Herald sportswriter Billy Thompson wrote in his Pressbox Pickups: “Versailles High’s Donnie Lane is one of the best little guys in Kentucky prep circles. What he lacks in size he makes up in speed and shooting accuracy.”

After Lane’s final high school game — a 27-point performance in a loss to Lafayette in the 11th Region tournament — Thompson noted: “Donnie Lane, a little guy with a big heart and an uncanny shooting eye, saw his prep cage career brought to a halt last night, but the fans will remember him for a long, long time. The 5-7 youngster brought many ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the spectators with his bulls-eye target ability.”

Lane averaged more than 18 points his senior season and was named honorable mention all-state.

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