Hometown: Lynn, MA (Classical)
Position: F Playing Height: 6-5 Playing Weight: 200
Date of Birth: August 31, 1930
Date of Death: August 22, 2015
Legal Name: Louis C. Tsioropoulos
Additional Photos: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
Action Photos: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16)
Game by Game Statistics
Kentucky Career Notes:
Retired Jersey #16
Multi-Sport Player [Football]
1953-54: All-SEC [Second Team (AP)]
Post-UK Career Notes:
Served in the Military
State of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame
University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame
Drafted #24 Overall in the 7th Round of the 1953 NBA Draft by Boston
Professional Basketball Statistics [External Link]
Obituary - Former Kentucky standout Lou Tsioropoulos dies, Associated Press (August 26, 2015) by Gary B. Graves
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Lou Tsioropoulos, a member of Kentucky's 1951 NCAA national championship team and the unbeaten '53-54 squad who went on to win two NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, has died. He was 84. Tsioropoulos' nephew, Michael Johnson, said Wednesday night that his uncle died Saturday in Louisville of natural causes. A memorial service was held there Wednesday. He would have turned 85 on Monday.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Tsioropoulos teamed with Naismith Memorial Hall of Famers Frank Ramsey and Cliff Hagan to beat Kansas State 68-58 in 1951 to win the third of Kentucky's four NCAA titles under coach Adolph Rupp. Three years later Tsioropoulos helped Kentucky finish 25-0 and complete the school's only undefeated season.
Tsioropoulos averaged 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds for that Wildcats team, which declined an NCAA Tournament berth. He finished with career averages of 8.4 points and 8.3 rebounds and the school retired his No. 16 jersey.
"We are terribly saddened to hear Lou Tsioropoulos passed away over the weekend," Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. "Lou was and always will be a Wildcat legend. His accomplishments speak for themselves: the national championship season in 1951, an undefeated season in 1953-54 and a two-time NBA champion.
"We are grateful we can forever honor his contributions to the university with the retirement of his jersey in the Rupp Arena rafters. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Tsioropoulos family."
A seventh-round draft choice of the Celtics in 1953, he spent time in the U.S. Air Force before joining the team in 1956. He won a title that season and in '58-'59 as a backup for Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn.
Tsioropoulos averaged 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds during a three-year pro career.
"He was a prototype for the sixth man that was developed over the years," Heinsohn said in a statement from the Celtics. "He was a fun guy and probably would have had a longer career as a Celtic if it wasn't for injuries. My heart goes out to Lou's family and he will be missed."
The Celtics' statement added that Tsioropoulos "had a special connection to the Celtics family both as a hometown hero as well as being part of the organization's first two championships."
Tsioropoulos later coached basketball at Louisville's duPont Manual High School from 1963-69.
Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, Louis Charles Tsioropoulos excelled in football and basketball in high school before playing the latter at Kentucky under Rupp. Former Wildcats manager Humzey Yessin recalled Tsioropoulos on Wednesday as "one of the best rebounders we ever had."
Tsioropoulos' size and dual talent drew the attention of then-Kentucky football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who went on to become a legend coaching at Alabama. Yessin added that Bryant would "ask Rupp to let him have Tsioropoulos because he knew he had played football."
Tsioropoulos is survived by wife Jan, daughter Tara, a niece and several nephews.
Obituary - Lou Tsioropoulos, member of unbeaten 1953-54 Kentucky basketball team, dies at age 84, Lexington Herald-Leader (August 26, 2015) by Jerry Tipton
Former Kentucky basketball star Lou Tsioropoulos died Saturday in Louisville. He would have been 85 on Monday.
With Cliff Hagan and Frank Ramsey, Tsioropoulos was part of a trio of standout players who led UK to the 1951 national championship. Three years later, as seniors, the players finished the season 25-0, the only unbeaten final record in Kentucky basketball history. Tsioropoulos averaged 14.5 points in that 1953-54 season.
After his UK career, Tsioropoulos entered the Air Force. He later played three seasons with the Boston Celtics as Tom Heinsohn's backup at forward. He averaged 5.8 points as an NBA player and was on the Celtics' championship teams in 1956-57 and 1958-59.
"He was a tough guy," Hagan said Wednesday before heading to Louisville for Tsioropoulos' funeral service. "He drew the tough assignments of guarding the best forward or center."
Ramsey recalled Tsioropoulos as a defensive specialist.
Tsioropoulos grew up in Lynn, Mass. "He came down to try out for football," Ramsey said. "He decided to play basketball instead."
In the book Big Blue Machine, Russell Rice wrote about Paul "Bear" Bryant, then UK's football coach, asking Adolph Rupp if he'd seen the football prospect from Massachusetts.
"I don't know, Paul," Rupp said. "What's the guy's name?"
Bryant answered, "I don't know, Adolph. He's from Lynn, Mass., a big Greek kid with a prominent nose."
Hagan and Ramsey recalled the size of Tsioropoulos' nose coming up during a trip to Puerto Rico the team took after winning the 1951 national championship. The UK players needed to know why the Puerto Rican fans were calling Tsioropoulos "Cyrano." It was for the French novelist and playwright, Cyrano de Bergerac, who had a long nose.
Tsioropoulos also quickly gained a reputation for having a difficult name to spell. On Wednesday, Ramsey voluntarily spelled it correctly during a phone conversation.
Rice noted in his book that Rupp had his secretary mimeograph labels of the name "Lou Tsioropoulos" on cards that he kept in his pocket and gave to officials keeping the scorebook.
Tsioropoulos is survived by his wife, Jan; a daughter, Tara; and two grandchildren.