It's Tony Dawson's birthday, born in Kinston, North Carolina in 1967. As a child Dawson was hit by a car. He broke his femur, and his foot was nearly severed. He underwent three major operations which included bone grafts from his hips. Following the surgery, his left leg was more than an inch shorter than his right.
Despite his physical limitations, the 6-7 Dawson excelled at basketball. Following high school he played for Gulf Coast CC and the Florida State University. He played 60 games at FSU and scored in double figures 58 times. His career average of 19.4 points per game is 6th all-time at FSU.
Dawson played professionally in eight different countries, and realized his dream of playing in the NBA when he saw minutes in four games for Sacramento in 1991.
Dawson is the older brother of Jerry Stackhouse.
Kentucky great Richie Farmer was born on this date in 1969. Farmer was Mr. Basketball in Kentucky, and was famous not just for his shot, but for his bushy mustache. He chose to attend his dream school – Kentucky – and it was during his freshman year that the Eddie Sutton scandal broke. The Wildcats were slapped with a scholarship reduction, a ban on televised games, and a post-season ban, the last of which would last through the end of Farmer's junior season. Five players jumped ship, leaving Kentucky with only Farmer, Sean Woods, Deron Feldhaus and John Pelphrey.
With the Athletic Director and Coach Sutton fired, Kentucky hired a new AD who cycled though a number of high profile coaches, none of whom would take the job. So he flew to New York and met with Rick Pitino, then coach of the Knicks. The AD says he told Pitino "You're not going to win but three or four games … " the first season. "We have major problems. And we can't figure out why the head coach of the New York Knicks, on the threshold of winning a championship, would ever want to come into this mess."
For whatever reason, it worked. Pitino wanted the challenge.
The four remaining Wildcats weren't long on talent. But all four were from Kentucky, and grew up in Big Blue Nation. They combined with whoever else Pitino to convince to join the roster, and improbably went 14-14 in Farmer's sophomore year, capping off the season by beating nationally ranked LSU and Shaquille O'Neal. This year is often cited as Pitino's greatest coaching job. Pitino also may have done his greatest recruiting job by luring high school senior Jamal Mashburn from New York City.
The following year Kentucky went 22-6 and won the SEC (though the couldn't compete in the post-season). And then in their senior season they advanced to the Regional Finals only to lose 104-103 on Christian Laettner's buzzer beater in what might be the greatest college game ever played.
The jerseys of the "Unforgettables" now hang in the rafters of Rupp Arena.
Farmer later entered politics, and was elected Kentucky's Commissioner of Agriculture in 2003. He served two terms before announcing plans to run for Lieutenant Governor. But his career was derailed by multiple improprieties.
Other birthdays include: Chuck Carney 1900 (Illinois), Dee Gibson 1923 (Western Kentucky), Robert Hahn 1925 (NC State), Andre McCarter 1953 (UCLA), Mo Howard 1954 (Maryland), Robert Horry 1970 (Alabama), Tony Dumas 1972 (UMKC), Damon Jones 1976 (Houston), and Tyrelle Blair 1985 (Boston College)