12/24/2004: I hope "Easy" Ed Macauley doesn't give money to St. Louis University anymore....
considering how little respect he's gotten from the school. In a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article which was ostensibly about Cardinals' uniform number assignments, we discover this shocking piece of news when the article digresses about uniform numbers in other sports and leagues:
Not that having your number retired is a guarantee it won't be worn again.For those of you who looked at the heading and said "'Easy' Ed who?".... well obviously you didn't grow up or live in St. Louis in the late '40s to early '60's. Macauley was an almost legendary star (two time All-American) for the St. Louis University Billikens basketball team in the late '40's, back when the Bills were actually good at the sport (but, near as I remember, before college basketball became the big business it is now). After graduating from SLU Macauley found himself on the 1949-50 NBA St. Louis Bombers, which was apparently one of the worst pro-basketball teams of all time (during Macauley's one season on the Bombers they went 26-42). The Bombers disbanded after that season, and Macauley wound up being drafted by the Boston Celtics in the NBA dispersal draft. Macauley played the next 6 seasons with Boston, teaming up with Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman to become the nucleus of a team which was a contender in the NBA Eastern Division but which, alas, never seemed to win the whole thing (during Macauley's tenure on the Celts the team always made the playoffs, but would choke in either the Eastern Division semis or finals).
St. Louis University retired Ed Macauley's No. 50, but when Melvin Robinson hit campus in 1990, he asked for 50 and got it because, after a few changes in the athletics department leadership, no one remembered 50 had been retired.
In 1956 Macauley returned to St. Louis when he was traded to the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks in a fairly interesting trade--near as I can tell Boston traded Macauley to St. Louis for the draft rights to NBA immortal Bill Russell. Macauley then endeared himself to St. Louis basketball fans by leading the Hawks to the NBA finals in '57 and '58; in 1957 they fell short, losing in the NBA finals, but in '58 they went all the way and won the championship. During the last two years of his tenure in St. Louis (1959 and '60) Macauley coached the Hawks, and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960. Afterwards he settled in St. Louis; I remember that in his retirement he became a sportscaster on one of the local evening news broadcasts (I'm wanting to say KTVI, then the ABC affiliate in St. Louis) and was active in both business ventures and various St. Louis area charities. A devout Catholic, Macauley was ordained to the Catholic permanent diaconate in 1989, and is credited as co-author of a book on homiletics (though the Amazon listing does not list Macauley as co-author, his name is clearly visible on the picture of the book cover on Amazon's web page).
1) According to local legend, when Macauley (an alumnus of St. Louis University High School in St. Louis) was making plans for his post-secondary education, his mother told him he could attend any college he wanted to as long as it was a Catholic college and in St. Louis. Near as I can tell, that limited him to one of two colleges: St. Louis University and the dioscesan preparatory and theological seminaries (at that time, I believe the preparatory seminary covered high school and the first two years of college; the theological seminary covered the last two years of college and professional training for the Catholic priesthood); since the only other Catholic colleges in the area that I am aware of (Fontbonne and Webster Colleges) were Catholic womens' colleges.
2) I just realized that I characterized Macauley's collegiate career as dating to that time when (a) St. Louis University was considered a legitimate collegiate basketball powerhouse, and (b) before college basketball became a big business. In order to be complete, and to satisfy my inner anal-retentive, I probably should have mentioned that (c) Macauley's collegiate career dates back to when (or so I've been told) the National Invitational Tournament was the de facto U.S. college basketball championship (and, incidentally, Macauley led the Billikens all the way to the 1948 NIT championship), and the NCAA tournament was the consolation prize for the also-rans, and (d) for that matter, Macauley's pro career dates back to before the NBA became a truly major league sport.
Len on 12.24.04 @ 02:01 PM CST