Wayne Golden - Father and Basketball Legend

Father’s Day is a special day set aside to honor those great men who are not only making a difference in their own children lives but also making a difference in other children lives.


Wayne Golden is a Louisville, Kentucky native who grew up around the Kentucky Derby excitement saw how those race horses would practice and then on that special Kentucky Derby Day, they knew how to win.


Wayne Golden, a native of Louisville, Kentucky making his presences known to the world


Wayne has been a winner in life and now he is sharing his knowledge, wisdom and talent with his three children, his grandchildren and the youth community, acting as a Father and mentor.


Wayne graduated from Shawnee High School in 1973 when his team became the one and only State Championship team in their school's history. Wayne was scouted by many colleges but he exchanged his Bluegrass State roots for the Volunteer State at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC).


Wayne Golden making his debut at Shawnee High School in Louisville, Kentucky in the early 70's


Wayne Golden leaping as a High Schooler in Louisville, Kentucky



While at UTC, Golden became a legend and an All-American who led his team to the 1977 Division II National Championship. To this day, Wayne Golden remains UTC All-time scoring leader with 2,384 points who averaged 20.4 points a game and was inducted into the UTC Hall of Fame in 2014 and his jersey #10 has been retired.


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Legend Wayne Golden wearing #10 Jersey that has been retired


While Wayne was receiving these honors, UT/NBA Legend Bernard King, (who I featured in Splash Magazine March issue) was at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville molding his career.  I asked Wayne if he ever had to play against King and he quickly answered “Heck Naw! and I’m glad we didn’t. Nobody could stop him. The "Ernie and Bernie’s Show" was never cancelled. Bernard was a non-stopper. When I think of a non-stopper I don’t think of (Kareem) Jabbar or (Michael) Jordan, it is BERNARD KING!!  I remember clearly and that boy was bad”!


After college, Wayne was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA). While at their camp, he was thrown a curve ball when he was not selected to play with a NBA team.  He had dreamed about this all his life.


Wayne Golden, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, All-Time leading scorer with 2,384 points; average 20 points per game flying way before Michael "Air" Jordan


He is still considered a winner because he could have given up as many people do in life when their dreams are shattered. Instead, Wayne overcame his disappointment and used his talent and smooth playing in the Netherlands and Venezuela. This was a life changing moment to meet others from different countries and see the world.


Wayne returned to the United States and became a proud solider in the United States Army for 8 years. Serving his country was first but he also earned spots on the All Armed Forces Tournament Basketball team that consisted of the greatest players from the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force. His dual role was soldier and basketball player.


The United States Armed Forces Basketball team including "Army" Wayne Golden and "Navy" David Robinson in San Francisco, CA (1987)


One of his teammates who made it to the NBA was David Robinson, the “Admiral”. Years later, Wayne would go see his former USA teammate play in the NBA in San Antonio, Texas.  I was in the stands looking at that golden moment when two former military teammates were together.


The United States Armed Forces Basketball Team (1988)


Russell Golden, Wayne Golden, Renee Sudderth and Tony "Doc" Griggs having fun at Fort Hood, Texas (1990) - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


After Wayne’s military life ended, he enrolled in Huston-Tillotson University where he earned his Bachelor Degree in Physical Education and later became the Head Coach of the Women’s team for 7 years. Wayne finally retired from basketball playing at age 36 and had a 23 point average; better than he did when he was age 18 in college with a 20 point average.


Mr. Golden now lives in Austin, Texas and works as a Youth Care Instructor at Lifeworks Youth and Family Alliance   and a Substitute Teacher which he finds very rewarding. He is making a difference in the lives of young people. Some of the kids are considered high risk youth and others feel as if everyone has given up on them. Mr. Golden is viewed as a father figure because many of the youth he works with don't have a father figure.  Fathers are going to have to do better, step up and become a part of their children lives because they need their Fathers, in order to become productive citizens.


Wayne may be a “larger than life” father figure to these young people but he also holds the official “daddy” title to Waynesia Golden-Savage, Wayne Jr. and Caleb. Waynesia earned her Ph.D in Education and is a professor who lives in California.


Father/Grandfather Wayne Golden with daughter Waynesia and granddaughter Devany - Courtesy of Waynesia Golden-Savage


Every father who ever loved being a basketball player, hopes their sons will be interested in basketball. Wayne Jr., age 17. loves basketball but he is more interested in communicating or being a sports broadcaster and making people smile. Caleb, age 14, has a burning desire to make it to the NBA as well as achieving academically. I have seen Caleb playing superb basketball at an early age so I can imagine him in the NBA one day.


Wayne Jr and Caleb Golden being amazed at photos of their dad, Wayne Golden star days in Chattanooga, Tennessee while cousin Terry Golden and their aunt Brenda Golden looks on (April 4, 2015) - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


As a father, Wayne said that before his babies could walk or talk, he would prop them up to watch basketball games. The boys would sit and watch for two hours and not budge. That was hilarious. Now I see why they love basketball.


Father/Coach/Legend Wayne Golden and his atheletic sons Wayne Jr. and Caleb Golden in Chattanooga, Tennessee - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


When Wayne talks about his three children he is proud of them and how they are progressing in life. The two young boys he says are both excellent athletes but what means most of all they have an understanding and awareness for their creator and they have a heart for God. And his daughter who is a "daddy's girl" is so proud of the foundation she is still enduring with her great husband and three daughters.


Russell Golden, the oldest of Walter and Alice Golden was admired by little brother Wayne. 


Waynesia Golden, Wayne's daughter (at the bottom) and Alice Golden, the mother of the Legendary Russell and Wayne Golden from Louisville, Kentucky who now looks down with pride of her entire Golden family


Russell was another outstanding athlete who graduated from Louisville Central High School in 1965 and played on the Annual Kentucky/Indiana All Stars.


Russell Golden, Louisville Central High School Standout making his moves in his Senior year, 1965


Afterward, he enrolled at Texas Wesleyan College and was the leading rebounding as a freshman. About two years later, he was drafted into the United States Army during the Vietnam War and received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.


After the war, he enrolled at Jackson State University (JSU) from 1970 to 1972 being chosen on the All South Western Athletic Conference (SWAC) and All National Association of Inter-Collegiate Athletics (NAIA) teams. Russell being so unique he was drafted twice by the NBA. One season by the Baltimore Bullets and the next season by the Phoenix Suns. Again, this “Golden” outstanding player's dream was cut short by the NBA.



Russell Golden, Hall of Famer at Jackson State University

Russell still came out on top even though life doesn’t always give you what you think you want. He continued to serve his country as a National Guard Reservist and retired from the Ford Motor Company after 30 years.


Retired Russell Golden enjoying the good life - Courtesy of Marilyn Golden


Russell's greatest accomplishments includes being married to the former Miss Marilyn Burden for 41years, and his two sons, Russell Jr. and Rom’Mell. He is proud of them and has tried to teach his boys that fathers are the strong link that binds a family together.


Mrs. Marilyn Burden-Golden and Russell Golden celebrating 41 years of marriage - Courtesy of Russell Golden


Father Russell Golden and his sons Rom'Mell and Russell Golden Jr. sharing a family outdoor moment - Courtesy of Marilyn Golden --


In 2014 and 2015 history was still being made by the “Golden men”.  In October 2014, Russell was inducted into Jackson State University Hall of Fame and Feburary 2015, he was named to the JSU All Legend Basketball Team.  We tease Russell that he is on tour because he is still going places and still receiving honorary moments.


Russell Golden, Jackson State University Basketball Legend celebrating with son Rom'Mell and Russell Jr. Golden (background) at his Jacksons State University Hall of Fame Induction - Courtesy of Marilyn Golden


In April 2015, Wayne was reunited with high school/college teammate Herbert “Book” McCray in Chattanooga, TN for the City of Stars Middle School All-Star Game at McCallie School sponsored by McCray’s organization that he and Wayne are considered the Founders and Co-Founders of  Independent Youth Service Foundation (IYSF). McCray’s organization pairs mentors with high risk students who have been suspended or expelled and  help them become responsible citizens.


Teammates from the UTC Championship team 1977 - Herbert "Book" McCray, Wayne Lyles, Wayne Golden and reporter - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc - Founder Herbert "Book" McCray and Co-Founder Wayne Golden - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Independent Youth Services Foundation, Inc - Founder Herbert "Book" McCray and Co-Founder Wayne Golden's Sign - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Wayne was coaching his team and 8th grader son, Caleb while McCray overlooked the great fun everyone was having including about 30 members of Wayne's family and friends.  Another college/teammate Wayne Lyles came from Alabama to support his former teammates.


"We Are Family", The Golden family including sisters Toni and Renee Sudderth came from everywhere to see Wayne, Wayne Jr and Caleb coach, assist and play basketball in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 4, 2015 - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


It was an honor to see these former teammates laughing and reminiscing. But the main thing was knowing Wayne Golden and seeing how his life has evolved in his 60 years of living (in a few months). He may have achieved a lot in his basketball career but his ultimate achievement has been displayed by stretching his hands out to his three children, other young relatives and other young people.


The Father/Legendary Wayne Golden thinking over his 60 years of living - Courtesy of Waynesia Golden-Savage


Wayne’s good works as a father and mentor is a great model for other fathers and should encourage them to try harder to have a good father image so children can benefit in life.

Once I was told “A father provides the foundation of strength, wisdom and hopes, so that his children may build their dreams upon it”. 


Waynesia Golden and Father Wayne Golden in their "yester year" photo


Father/Coach/Mentor Wayne Golden making a difference in his son's Wayne Golden Jr and Caleb's young lives - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Wayne Golden inducted to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Hall of Fame and later inducted to The Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame


I believe that strongly because my “almost” 82 year old father is still with me and my siblings today and I truly thank God that he is still a strong figure in our lives.   


Copyright © 2015.June This story written and photos by Renee Sudderth for Splash Magazines. It is not to be sold or reproduce without written permission of Renee Sudderth




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