Racism in sports
= Audio Available Online
Houston discusses his childhood in a segregated Alcoa, TN childhood neighborhood during the decades after World War II, emphasizing the importance of good schools and sports on his life. He describes in some detail his recruitment in 1962 to the University of Louisville to break the school’s color barrier in basketball, noting instances of lingering segregation and hostility. Houston tells of his courtship of Alice Kean, his life as a successful Louisville high school coach, and his long career as a UofL assistant, primarily responsible for recruiting. (As an aside, he compares the simpler efforts in the past to attract and keep successful athletes to the challenges of modern, big-time collegiate sports.) He then explains why he helped form the Black Coaches Association and recalls his five years as head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee. (Those years, he remembers, allowed strengthening bonds with his children, themselves successful college athletes.) Before his return to Louisville to head a successful trucking company in partnership with old UofL athlete\friend Charlie Johnson, Houston reveals that Rick Pitino offered him a basketball assistant coaching position at rival University of Kentucky. Finally, Houston reflects on continuing racial bias even when playing by the rules and warmly recalls his year or so early-on playing pro-ball in France, the basketball camps that he and his son, Allan, held in Uganda, and his abiding appreciation for the University of Louisville.