By Daniel Hooker
Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
Western Carolina men’s basketball is honoring the memory of one of its legends during the 2023-24 season.
Fans following the Catamounts during their red-hot start this year may have noticed a memorializing patch adorning the team’s uniforms featuring the letters “HL” – a salute to a trailblazing basketball alum Henry Logan who passed away back in late July 2023.
“Without Henry Logan, there is no Justin Gray – or a lot of the players we have now at Western Carolina. So, it's only right that we pay tribute to him and his legacy with this patch this season,” said WCU head coach Justin Gray on the memorial representation for the late Logan.
Winners of six straight to open the season, WCU (6-0) is off to the program’s best start since the Logan-led Catamounts in 1965-66 opened the year with six consecutive victories. According to WCU resident historian and long-time sports information contact Steve White, the 1965-66 Catamounts rose to No. 3 in the AP College Division Poll on the strength of the unbeaten start going into the Gate City Classic tournament in Greensboro. This year’s squad has risen to No. 10 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 and No. 7 in the Field of 68 Media Network Cinderella Top 25.
Logan was a pioneer and among the most heralded student-athletes in WCU's history. Born in 1946, he was the first African American to play at a predominantly white college in the southeast and opened the door for the integration of athletic programs in the region helping to break through the color barrier. On the court, Logan was a four-time NAIA and Associated Press All-America selection for the Catamounts from 1965-68 in the Carolinas Conference. A sleek scoring, high-flying guard, he concluded his career with school records that may never be touched including a program benchmark of 3,290 points – all scored without the aid of the 3-point shot which would not be added to the game until WCU's Ronnie Carr made the first NCAA 3-pointer in 1980. Logan averaged 30.7 points per game which included a 60-point performance during a game against Atlantic Christian in 1967. Logan remains the current school record holder in points (3,290), field goals made (1,263), field goals attempted (2,419), free throws made (764), free throws attempted (1,025), and assists with 1,037 – a number that is staggering when added to his career point total. He was also credited with 638 career rebounds, 18th active in the Catamount record books. Logan is the only WCU player to ever eclipse the 1,000-point mark in a season, doing so with a school-record 1,049 points in 1967-68. Logan led the nation in scoring in 1968 at 36.2 points per game, while his seasonal averages of 30.3 points per game in 1967 and 29.1 points per game in 1966 rank among WCU's top three single-season best performances.
Logan was inducted into the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990 and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. In November 2023, Logan was also posthumously enshrined in the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame at the historic Polk Theatre in Lakeland, Fla. His No. 10 jersey continues to hang from the rafters in the Ramsey Center, honored back in 2002.
This year marks the second time in recent years that Catamount men’s basketball has worn a commemorative patch featuring the letters H and L on their jerseys. In 2018-19 following the passing of former 14-year head coach Larry Hunter the previous May, WCU’s previous head coach Mark Prosser honored the memory of the late Hunter as his squad, which included several players recruited by Hunter, wore “LH” patches during the season.