AUSTIN, Texas — Leon Black, the former University of Texas men’s basketball player who later served as head coach for the Longhorns for nine seasons from 1967-76, passed away on Tuesday in Austin. Black was 89 years old.
Black was a three-year letterwinner at guard for Texas (1950-53). In his sophomore season in 1950-51 under head coach Jack Gray, the Longhorns won a share of the Southwest Conference regular-season title. Black played his final two years at UT for head coach Thurman “Slue” Hull.
Black returned to the Forty Acres as an assistant coach for three years (1964-65 through 1966-67) under Harold Bradley. The Longhorns were SWC co-champions in the 1964-65 season.
Black served as head coach at UT for nine years (1967-76), leading Texas to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and two Southwest Conference titles in 1971-72 and 1973-74. The Longhorns reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1972.
Black was considered a pioneer who blazed trails by recruiting the first seven African-American student-athletes in men’s basketball program history, including stars Jimmy Blacklock, Larry Robinson and Johnny Moore. He was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1989.
A native of Martins Mill, Texas, Black was born on Feb. 21, 1932.