James Naismith was part of the first class inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame. Other members of the class included, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Leslie Mann, Leslie J. Judd, and Archie P. Allen. James A. Naismith (November 6, 1861 – November 28, 1939), known as "The Father of Basketball" was born in Almonte, Ontario. When he was nine, both of his parents died of typhoid fever and he was raised by his uncle, who later financed Naismith's way through college. He earned his theological degree from McGill University and graduated from Springfield College, then the YMCA Training School, in 1891. After graduation, he was hired as a faculty member, where he taught for five years. It is in his first year as a faculty member at Springfield College that he created the game of Basketball as an activity for an unruly class. In 1895, Naismith enrolled at the Gross Medical School in Denver and received his M.D. in 1898. In that same year, Naismith took the position of department head of physical education at the University of Kansas, where he remained until his death. Edward Hickox graduated from Springfield College in 1914, and in 1926 began his 16-year coaching career for the College’s men’s basketball team (compiling a 209-85 record). He also served as director of athletics. Hickox served on the National Basketball Rules Committee and was chairman for the last three years. He was a charter member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, was its president, and was its 1949 Man of the Year. In 1949, Hickox volunteered to be the executive secretary of the nonexistent basketball hall of fame. His contributions laid the groundwork for building the first Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on the campus of Springfield College. Unfortunately, Hickox, who died in 1966, did not live to see the building’s opening, which took place in 1968.
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