Legacy of UC basketball national champion continues through golf center

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A former University of Cincinnati basketball player and coach continues to give back even in death.

Tony Yates was a national championship basketball player and later coach.

On Thursday, the Tony Yates Junior Golf Learning Center was unveiled with a dedication ceremony at Reeves Golf Course.

In his post-basketball days, Yates founded the Tony Yates Junior Golf Academy to provide a free place to teach kids golf and much more.

“It’s always been more than just about golf,” explains Cincinnati Recreation Commission Assistant Director Steve Pacella. “Golf is just a vehicle to get them here and try to make it fun.”

Yates died last year, but his wife, family and many friends are continuing his legacy.

“Tony was really kind of modest about the things that he did,” remembers Tony’s wife, Maxine Hoyles-Yates, “But he loved the kids and I think you talk to him, winning two national championships was fun, but this [golf academy] brought him more pleasure.”

The academy started with several dozen kids and now serves 1,400 kids each year.

Many of Yates’ former teammates, players, and friends came Thursday to share memories about the national championship player.

But they said it is all about continuing to pass along those skills to the youth here in Cincinnati.

“I just want to thank everybody and realize just be a mentor to these young people,” says George Wilson, “Because they want to do good.”

“Tony was a coach, he was a mentor, but really he was an inspiration to children once they realized what he was trying to do and what he was trying to teach them,” says Pacella, “And that’s why one of Tony’s biggest joys was hearing the success of past students, so that’s what this really is all about.”

If you would like to get involved in the golf academy, you can find more information here.

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