Kansas State University fans were left in mourning last week after basket icon Ernie Barrett passed away.
According to Fox News, the former professional athlete and Kansas State alumnus died this past Friday at the age of 93.
— K-State Men's Basketball (@KStateMBB) April 21, 2023
The network explained that Barrett got his start on the court by playing for Wellington High School and led the team to its only state championship in 1947.
His winning streak continued at Kansas State where his three seasons with the Wildcats were marked by 675 career points.
The school experienced its first and thus far only NCAA Championship game appearance under Barrett's leadership in 1951, resulting in the nickname "Mr. K-State."
While Barrett would become the Boston Celtics' seventh 1951 draft pick, he put his NBA career on hold to first serve two years in the United States Air Force. After two seasons with the Celtics, Barrett returned to Kansas State where he worked as a coach and an administrator.
Fox News noted that Barrett is remembered fondly by his colleagues, including Kansas State men's basketball coach Jerome Tang.
"He came to visit me before every home game and was incredibly welcoming to me and my staff in our first year," Tang told the Associated Press. "No one loved this university and its basketball team more than him."
Longtime Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder spoke up as well, telling the Associated Press, "Ernie was the dearest of friends, one of the greatest K-Staters in the world."
"Never in my 40-plus years here have I met anyone who meant more or did more for a university than Ernie," Snyder continued, adding, "He sought out opportunities to promote Kansas State University and the athletics program everywhere he was."
Tributes to Barrett quickly appeared on social media, including from the Kansas State podcast Boscoe's Boys, which called him an "all-American basketball player" and stressed that "there will not be any better Wildcats than him."
Rest in Peace to Mr. K-State: Ernie Barrett. An All-American basketball player, a game changing Athletics Director, and the best of all K-State fans, there will not be any better Wildcats than him. pic.twitter.com/LQElR5vVQq
— Boscoe’s Boys (@BoscoesBoys) April 21, 2023