Kentuckyâ€™s Beck, leader of â€™58 NCAA title team, dies at 83
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Ed Beck, a prominent leader of Kentucky's 1958 NCAA championship basketball team, has died. He was 83.
Beck, who died Wednesday in Sun City, Ariz., was a two-year captain (1956-58) under coaching legend Adolph Rupp and averaged 11.6 rebounds and 5.6 points a game for the Wildcats as a member of the 1958 "Fiddlin' Five," who went on to win the fourth national title in Kentucky's history.
"Ed Beck was an important member of the Kentucky basketball family," Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said on the school's website Thursday. "He cemented his place in UK lore as one of the great rebounders in program history and a leader of one of our most beloved teams. Seeing him and his teammates return home for the reunion of the 1958 team reunion earlier this year was truly special. We offer our condolences to Ed's family and friends."
Beck made The Associated Press All-SEC second team as a junior, averaging 14.1 rebounds and 9.6 points a game, and was selected the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 1958. His 10.0 career rebounding average was the school's third-highest total at the time.
Beck's first wife Billie died after a battle with Hodgkin's disease following the Wildcats' loss in 1957 NCAA Tournament.
After his collegiate career, Beck opted to join the ministry instead of playing professional basketball, turning down an offer from the New York Knicks. He served in the ministry for more than 50 years.
In February, Beck attended the reunion of the 1958 national championship team at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
"You can imagine back in the '50s how close this team was," Beck said in February. "You have to remember we had 11 people on that team who graduated in 1958. ... It was the main reason we won the tournament because we had played together for four years and knew each other's moves. I knew what Vernon (Hatton) was going to do before he was going to do it. ... It all came together. The maturity of the team was a big, big part of the championship."
Beck's survivors include his wife Faye, and sons Jon Ed, Stephen, Bradley and Daniel. Funeral arrangements are pending.