|Amory T. "Slats" Gill|
|Born||May 1, 1901
|Died||April 5, 1966
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
Regional Championships - Final Four (1949, 1963)Pacific Coast Conference championship 1933, 1947, 1949, 1955, 1958
|Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1968
Gill was born in Salem, Oregon, the youngest of eight children. His father died when he was a child. His nickname "Slats" was given to him at age 12. Gill was swimming in a local pond one summer afternoon. Upon exiting the pond, a buddy joked with Gill about his scrawny frame with his ribs protruding, which he said looked like slats in a picket fence. Gill was from then on known as Slats.1
Gill attended Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) in Corvallis, Oregon. While at OAC, he played baseball from 1919 to 19212 and basketball from 1922 to 1924. Gill was an All-American forward in 1924.3
Gill's first head coaching position was at a high school in Oakland, California. After one season there, he returned to Corvallis to be the head coach of the Rooks (the OSU freshman team). He spent two seasons in that capacity.1
In the summer of 1928, OAC's current head coach Bob Hager was fired by then school president Jasper Kerr. Kerr did not look far for his new head coach. Even though Gill was only 27 years old and had just three years of coaching under his belt, Kerr hired him as the head basketball coach.1
In his tenure, Oregon State won five Pacific Coast Conference titles, four Northern Division championships, and a pair of Final Four appearances (1949 and 1963). His teams won eight consecutive Far West Classic titles. Gill had 599 coaching victories with the Beavers.
Gill also coached the Beavers' baseball team from 1932 to 1937.
As past president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Slats coached in the 1964 NABC All-Star Game.
Gill was the first OSU coach to have an African American player to play on the team. Norman Monroe was a walk on and was the first black basketball player to play at OSU and played for the team for half of the 1960-1961 season.4 The first recruited, scholarship black athlete to be named to the OSU basketball team arrived only in 1966, when Charlie White was named to the squad.5
This policy of institutionalized racism in OSU athletics would come to a head in another of the school's major sports when in 1968 OSU football player Fred Milton would clash with Head Coach Dee Andros over grooming policy — a battle reduced to racial terms as a struggle of black athletes against white coaches and administrators. In the supercharged political climate of the decade, the so-called Milton Affair would lead to a protest march and a walk out of classes in sympathy and the mass departure of African-American athletes from the OSU football team.6 It would be several years until tensions abated and Oregon State sports could be called fully integrated.
Gill met his wife, Helen, on a blind date at OAC in the early 1920s. They were married in 1932. They raised two children, a son John, and a daughter Jane.1
|Oregon State University (Pacific Coast Conference) (1928–1959)|
|1948–1949||Oregon State||24-12||12-4||1st||Final Four|
|Oregon State University (Independent) (1959–1964)|
|1962–1963||Oregon State||22-9||Final Four|
- Welsch, Jeff Tales from Oregon State Sports. Sports Publishing. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- Gill, the veteran OAC backstop. Accessed 24 March 2008.
- "Amory Gill". HickokSports.com. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- George Beres, "Basketball's Best Once Were Blackballed from the College Game," History News Network, April 3, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- Paul Buker, "'Giant Killers' Standout Milton Befriended Coach After Clash," The Oregonian, February 9, 2011, pp. D1, D3.