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Legendary McMurry coach celebrates 90th birthday

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McMurry University hosted a 90 th birthday celebration for its former hall-of-fame men's basketball head coach - and gymnasium namesake - Hershel Kimbrell on Saturday at Kimbrell Arena.

Kimbrell retired with an overall basketball coaching record of 448-413 (.520) in his 31 seasons - 1959-90 - at McM's helm. McMurry had eight Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association Basketball championships under his leadership. McM also advanced to the postseason playoffs 16 times, making the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City, Mo., in 1962, with Kimbrell directing the team.

Kimbrell, who has been in declining health, thanked the crowd for being there.

"I can't explain the kind of medicine of getting to see great friends, great players, old ex-players," said Kimbrell. "I wish everyone would love McMurry like I do, and support McMurry like I hopefully will do." After graduating in 1950, Kimbrell coached at only two schools during his career (Garland, Texas High School and McMurry). He also coached McMurry golf for the next five years, retiring in 1995 - a 45-year coaching career. Kimbrell also served as an assistant football coach for McMurry in 1959 until assuming responsibility of athletic director in 1968. Hunt P.E. Center was constructed while Kimbrell was athletic director. A charter member of the McMurry Athletic Hall of Honor in 1984, Kimbrell was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame as a coach in 1985.

Several former players shared memories of their days with Kimbrell.

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