A well-known and well-loved basketball coach from Wyoming County has died Don Nuckols passed away yesterday after battling respiratory problems for several months. He was 78-years-old.
Nuckols had five state championship basketball teams at Mullens High School. His career spanned from 1969-1984 with 283 wins.
As a friend, former Woodrow Wilson boys basketball coach, David Barksdale said Nuckols had a unique love for the game.
“I know I have never met anybody that had anymore passion for the game, worked any harder and loved the game of basketball any more than Don Nuckols,” Barksdale said.
Both men shared their love for the game and Barksdale also won 5 state championships titles leading Woodrow’s flying eagles. But it was the Rebels basketball program, that Barksdale said served as the playbook for his program’s success.
“We kind of modeled our program to get like Mullens, shoot I Wouldn’t deny that I think thats a great statement and I’m proud to have known Don and for him to have a program that we wanted to emulate,” Barksdale said.
Herbie Brooks a former shooting guard for the Rebels, who went on to play collegiate and professional basketball knew Nuckols as more than just a coach.
“After my dad passed he kinda step in that role for me I was 22-years-old and he stepped in that role and became like a father figure to me,” Brooks said.
He added Nuckols was someone who coached not just basketball, but the game of life. “He instilled in us a work ethic to work hard if you want something out of life you got to work hard and it started on the basketball court with me and him and it went it life as far as the jobs I wanted in life you got to work for it.”
His intense basketball style and competitive nature is what long time sports broadcaster Bill O’brien will remember him best for.
“He would battle you no matter what if it was a game of cards if it was basketball Don Nuckols was in it to win it,” O’Brien said.
Family members tells 59News funeral arrangements are pending.