Birthdate: September 15, 1937
Birthplace: Lawrenceburg, IN
High School: Lockland (Ohio) Wayne High School (1954)
College: University of Cincinnati (1960-1963)
Year Inducted: 2020
Seemingly every championship basketball team needs a steady hand and leader at point guard, and that’s exactly what Tony Yates was for the highly successful Cincinnati Bearcats in the early 1960s.
Tabbed “my coach on the floor” by UC head coach Ed Jucker, Yates was a three-year starter and an invaluable playmaker for a team that won back-to-back NCAA national championships in 1961 and ’62, victimizing in-state foe Ohio State each time.
Yates’ career averages of 7.7 points, 3.5 points and 3.2 assists are solid numbers but do not tell the entire story. He set the tone in the backcourt on both sides of the ball and was a very key piece to Bearcats teams that posted an astonishing three-year mark of 82-7. Coaches and analysts understood his worth to the team as he was named to several All-America teams including and Associated Press third-teamer as a senior in 1963.
As a junior, Yates averaged 8.2 ppg, 4.3 apg and guided UC to a 29-2 record and second straight national title.
Yates and his older brother, Fletcher, led Lockland Wayne to a high school state championship in 1952. Tony graduated in 1954, worked for a year and then joined the U.S. Air Force, serving until 1959. When he separated from service, Yates was married, 22 years old and decided it was time to focus on college basketball. During his time in the program, he answered to the nickname “Gramps.”
A Cincinnati-area product, Yates served as an assistant coach at UC from 1972-74 and also was head coach from 1984-89. In between, he served as an Illinois assistant for nine years and earned a reputation as one of the Big Ten’s top recruiters. He was inducted into his alma mater’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985. Yates and his wife, Maxine, are proud parents of two children, Anthony and Brianna.