September 12, 1933 - May 25, 2021
Wilson Calloway Sergeant - also known as W.C., "Sarge", "Coach", or "Willie" to his fellow teammates, students, family, and friends - passed away quietly this week on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 88. Those who knew W.C. remember him in his myriad roles as a coach, teacher, husband, father, idea man, and the self-titled best driver in town. Napkins and bits of paper were his preferred method of communication; the television volume down and the radio volume up was the only way to get a decent play-by-play while watching Kentucky basketball; and, apparently, he was the only parent in town who knew that if you went to the swimming pool after 6 p.m., you could get a good pick-up game on the basketball courts.
W.C. was a tireless coach and teacher - he was never hesitant to share left-lane protocol tips with other drivers, offer his perspective to referees on their calls during ball games, and in later years, teaching his beloved wife Shirley how to maneuver her power wheelchair so she didn't run over him in the elevator - again. Many friends, family, colleagues, athletes, and innocent bystanders have experienced W.C.'s seminal theoretical basketball zone strategies, business ideas, and financial tactics skillfully-depicted on restaurant napkins and menus. His family benefitted often from his proficient car packing and re-packing skills, learning the best way to make room for Shirley's china and W.C.'s light reading of how to have highly effective habits, or to become a master negotiator. He taught many how to balance an account sheet, shoot a free throw, ride a bike, and how to self-monitor the proper length of skirts, shirts, and hair - especially for his children.
As an idea generator, W.C. was driven by his curiosity, restless in his pursuit of new ideas. He was a teacher, realtor, coach, publisher, and advisor, and though he may not have received actual credit, he was likely the inventor of putting peanuts directly into the Coca-Cola bottle. He was videotaping basketball games with VHS before it was cool, could look at a map, drive, and tell others how to drive at the same time, was well-known at car lots and office supply stores, and always left behind a pile of crumbs and a sticky spill of orange juice on the floor in the late night, during his best idea-generating time.
W.C. was born in Rose Hill, Virginia on September 12, 1933. He grew up in Barbourville, Kentucky, and Auburn, Illinois, before attending Union College to study education and play on the basketball and baseball teams. His junior year at Union College, he met Shirley Ann Thurston - while he was on a date with Shirley's best friend. W.C. graduated Union College in 1955 and was immediately drafted in the U.S. Army. Hiding an engagement ring in the glove compartment of his car, he asked Shirley to marry him and accompany him to Germany for the duration of his military service. Shirley and W.C. returned stateside to continue their myriad adventures over the years, living and working in Harrodsburg, Kentucky as a coach and teacher, Corbin High School as a coach and teacher, Louisville, Kentucky as a basketball coach at Trinity High School, Berea College as a basketball coach and teacher, and then back to Louisville to teach at Seneca High School. W.C. started the basketball and athletics program at Spalding University in Louisville, now an NCAA Division III program, coaching their men's team in 1995. He was inducted into the Union College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. W.C. earned his Master's degree from the University of Kentucky, and his Rank I Certification from Western Kentucky University. By far his greatest accomplishment was his 65-year marriage to Shirley, as she was the bedrock for the rest of his life.
W.C. is survived by his beloved wife Shirley Ann Thurston Sergeant of Corbin, KY (now residing in Cincinnati, OH); Steve (Maggie) Sergeant of Owensboro, KY; Ann (Jeff) Gibson of Cincinnati, OH; Libby (Corey) McGinnis of Mars, PA. He leaves behind five grandchildren: Samuel Sergeant, Leah Sergeant, Connor McGinnis, Ryan McGinnis, and Calloway Gibson.
The family will hold a memorial service for W.C. on Saturday, May 29 at the Indian Hill Church in Indian Hill, Ohio. The church will host a reception for visitors at 2 p.m., the memorial service will begin at 3 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky: https://unioncollege.givingfuel.com/give-union-college