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Statue of Adair County great Edgar Allen Diddle unveiled at WKU

Famous Western Coach was born in Gradyville, Adair County, KY, and lived in Columbia for a time

Photos accompany this story
The statue of Edgar Allen Diddle was unveiled on November 19, 2005, in front of the arena named for him on Western Kentucky University's campus.

Ed Diddle was born in Gradyville, Adair County, KY, on March 12, 1895. For a time he lived on what is now Guthrie Street in Columbia. He was an outstanding athlete himself. He gained greater fame as a coach at Western Kentucky University.

When he retired in 1964, he was winningest coach in college basketball history.

The statue is 10-feet tall.

On the front is inscribed: Edgar Allen Diddle. Coach 1922-64. Western Kentucky University."One side of the pedestal of the monument has this inscription: "Overall record as WKU head Coach, 1,532 events: 1,040-487-5; Men's Basketball 1922-'64: 759-302; Baseball 1922-'64: 232-155-3; Football 1922-'28 38-24-2; Women's Basketball 1922-24, 11-6. The winningest coach in college basketball history upon his retirement in 1964. Created by Bowling Green native and WKU Alumnus Russ Faxon."

The statue is surrounded by benches and smaller markers, which include:

  • The GRAY MONUMENT with this inscription: "EDGAR ALLEN DIDDLE. BORN MARCH 12, 1895, Gradyville, Adair County, KY. Died January 2, 1970, Bowling Green, KY. Age 74 years. Member: Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame; Kentucy Athletic Hall of Fame; Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni, Western Kentucky University Athletic Hall of Fame."

  • THE RED TOWEL MONUMENT Has painting of Diddle with black overcoat over shoulder, leaving Diddle Arena. Inscription says, "The Red Towel. Western Kentucky's unique Red Towel tradition originated with Coach E.A. Diddle. Through 1,061 Hilltopper basketball games--759 of those Western victories--Mr. Diddle clutched a towel. He chewed on it, threw it, cried on it, waved it at fans, and used it to signal his players. The Red Towel became synonymous with Western's outstanding athletic heritage."

  • The CREDITS INSCRIPTION: "Western Kentucky University extends a special thank you to the following individuals for their support of this tribute to Coach E.A. Diddle: The Diddle Family, Jim and Mary Jo (Diddle) Phillips, Eddie and Lucille Diddle, Jr." Next there is a quote, "Anonymous: In love and respect for Mr. Diddle, from those who dared and cared--His Players." then "Don and Irene Dizney, with fond memories; Russ and Dianna Faxon, Raymon A. "Rip" and Helen L. Gish, in appreciation ot coach Diddle and WKU; Gene Haskett, with respect and thanks to Coach Diddle and WKU; George and Jane Warren, In memory of our son, John Richard Warren."
At Gradyville, a single sign notes that the town is the birthplace of Ed Diddle, and local lore about his boyhood abounds. But there are no signs at his birthplace farm, nor are there, presently, any brochures.

This story was posted on 2005-11-30 05:53:09
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Statue of Adair Countian Ed Diddle at WKU

2005-11-30 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Linda Waggener. Western Kentucky University now honors Adair Countian Edgar Allen Diddle with this 10 ft. statue with accompanying monuments and benches. The statue was unveiled November 19, 2005. Ed Diddle was born in Gradyville, KY, and spent his boyhood there and in Columbia, KY.
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Shrine for Great Adair Countian at WKU: Paying homage

2005-11-30 - Bowling Green, KY - Photo Linda Waggener. EDGAR ALLEN DIDDLE, born March 12, 1895, in Gradyville, Adair County, Kentucky, is now remembered in this shrine which includes several monuments near his statue in front of the basketball arena named for Mr. Diddle. Tom Waggener, a graduate student in folklore studies at WKU and a native of Columbia, Adair County KY, pays homage to a fellow Adair Countian on Thanksgiving Day 2005.
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Shrine to Ed Diddle: Close-up.

2005-11-30 - Bowling Green,KY - Photo Linda Waggener. "Uncle Ed" to the world, he was "Cud'n Ed" to us, whether by blood cousinship or close acquaintance. A close-up of the statue of one of America's all-time outstanding basketball coaches, Adair County favorite son Edgar Allen Diddle.
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