Joe C. Meriweather, part of Kansas City’s basketball scene for three decades as an NBA player and college coach, died on Sunday in Columbus, Ga. He was 59.
According to his son, Jon, Meriweather was hospitalized briefly Sunday, but cause of death is unknown.
Meriweather played 10 years in the NBA, the final five with the Kansas City Kings. He was with the team during its best season — a run to the Western Conference finals in 1981 — and its last season in Kansas City in 1985.
After a college career at Southern Illinois, Meriweather, a 6-foot-10 front-liner, was a first-round NBA Draft selection of the Houston Rockets in 1975 and was chosen to the NBA all-rookie team for 1975-76, when he averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Meriweather also played for the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz and New York Knicks before being traded to the Kings in 1980.
Most of post-professional career was spent in Kansas City, and Meriweather coached the Park University women’s team from 1997-2010, amassing 128 victories. He led the program to its only NAIA Tournament appearance in 2006.
Before Park, Meriweather coached the Kansas City Mustangs, a minor-league team, and also served as a coach at Bishop Hogan High and Penn Valley Community College.
Meriweather also served as CEO of 3C’s Fatherhood Educational Partnership, Inc., a Kansas City-based educational program that works to develop young men into responsible fathers.
“I’m still in shock that Joe C. Meriweather, a friend, a colleague, is no longer with us,” Park athletic director Claude English said. “Joe C. touched thousands of lives, especially young lives, and he will never be forgotten.”
A memorial service for Meriweather will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Breckon Sports Center on the Park campus.