Jack Parr, a three-time All-Big Eight selection who helped lead Kansas State to a Final Four, died Sunday at his home in Lindsborg, Kan. He was 78.
A 6-foot-9 front liner, Parr helped lead the Wildcats to conference championships in 1956 and 1958, and the Final Four as a senior. He averaged 16.9 points and 12.7 rebounds in three seasons at K-State.
In 2003, Parr was chosen to Kansas State’s All-Century team, and two years later his No. 33 was retired and now hangs from the ceiling in Bramlage Coliseum.
During his senior year, the Wildcats finished the regular season as the nation’s top-ranked team. A double-overtime victory at Kansas, led by Wilt Chamberlain, was a season highlight.
Parr and Bob Boozer helped Kansas State to a regional final victory over Oscar Robertson and Cincinnati. The Wildcats lost to Seattle and Elgin Baylor in the national semifinals.
Parr left K-State as the school’s career leading scorer and rebounder. He still owns the program’s top rebounding mark for a single season with 340.
Parr, who came to Manhattan from Richmond, Va., credited his coach, Tex Winter, for his college success.
“Tex Winter did a great deal to help me with not only my scoring, but also my defense,” Parr said in a 2007 interview. “That doesn’t get a lot of press, but I took a lot of pride in my defense and also, obviously, my rebounding.”
Parr was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA in 1958 and lasted one season with the team, later returning to college basketball as an official.
“He was always a good person to be around and obviously he was a great K-Stater,” Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said in a release. “When you have your jersey hanging in the arena, it means you were a pretty special player. I have heard a number of stories from coach (Gene) Keady about the type of player he was and how much admiration he had for him.
“He was always such a pleasant person to be around and it’s always heartbreaking to lose someone like that at any age. This is a tremendous loss not only for our basketball program but for our athletics department and university. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family during this difficult time.”
The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff contributed to this report