Miami University announced Thursday it will erect a statue of Springfield native Wayne Embry this spring.
Embry was a two-time All-MAC front-court player for Miami in the last 1950s after graduating from Tecumseh High School.
He went on to a standout NBA career for the Cincinnati Royals, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics that included five all-star appearances and the 1968 NBA championship with the Celtics.
After his playing career, Embry became the first African-American general manager in the NBA and was one of the best.
He spent stints running the Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors and was named NBA Executive of the Year twice.
Embry’s statue, the first of an African-American alumnus at Miami, will be in front of Millett Hall and be dedicated this spring.
“On my recruiting visit in 1954, I distinctly remember walking through the halls of Withrow Court and seeing the photos of some of Miami’s most famous and respected coaches; Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Walter Alston, Weeb Ewbank to name a few,” Embry said in a university release. “The experience was profound, providing inspiration and confidence for me throughout my collegiate career and a moment I also reflected back upon when I first became general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I took great pride in representing Miami of Ohio on the basketball floor and cherished all of the invaluable lessons learned and relationships developed but just as importantly, I highly valued the education I received and the foundation it provided for my opportunities both in the NBA and in business. The pride I have as a Miami of Ohio alumnus is deep and I am genuinely grateful and touched to have the enduring honor.”
Miami University president Gregory Crawford said the statue will honor the legacy of Embry’s “life and career of courageous leadership, generous service and unparalleled commitment to team, collaboration and his alma mater.
“Miami is a place for trailblazers and innovators. Wayne is a tremendous example of the grit and tenacity that is emblematic of RedHawks. In the years to come, countless students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be inspired by his story, leadership and successes.”
Embry is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.