TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - He may have passed away a week ago Monday, but the spirit of kindness was alive in the hundreds of people who gathered in Tuscaloosa on Thursday to honor the late C.M. Newton. The former Alabama basketball coach (1968-1980), University of Kentucky two-sport athlete and later Director of Athletics died on June 4 in Tuscaloosa at the age of 88.
Among those who attended the memorial service were Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, former Kentucky and current High Point coach Tubby Smith, Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, former Florida and current Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan and former Bama player Wendell Hudson, the first African-American athlete recruited and signed by Coach Newton.
"C.M. always had a kind word for everyone", while Tubby Smith added, "C.M. reminded me of my father, a true man of character," said Calipari
Newton played basketball at Kentucky under Adolph Rupp and was a letterman on the 1951 Championship team. He later coached basketball at Transylvania University and Vanderbilt, as well as Alabama, where he integrated the program. He also served as an assistant commissioner of the SEC.
Newton's large family attended the Thursday service at the First Presbyterian Church Of Tuscaloosa, including his wife Nancy, children Martin, Deborah and Tracy and many others.