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Academic All-American Bud Stallworth lends library a helping hand

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Last week he was golfing with Moses Malone and other basketball legends in Houston during NBA All-Star Week. He’s back in snow-covered Lawrence and will be mini-golfing indoors tonight to help the Lawrence Public Library Foundation raise money.

If you know anything at all about Bud Stallworth, you know that has been his life in a nutshell: Books, basketball and golf.

Next time you enter Allen Fieldhouse, look at the banner hanging on the north wall, the one that says “Academic All-Americans.” You’ll find his name on it.

If you attend tonight’s Caddy Stacks bash at the vacant library (707 Vermont Street), the friendly, approachable Stallworth will have stories to tell. Ask him to share the one about:

*Meeting and getting to know heavyweight champion and anti-war activist Muhammad Ali, the world’s most famous 20th-century athlete.

*Playing under coach Bill Russell, the greatest champion in the history of basketball, but a better player than coach, according to Stallworth.

*Being recruited to play basketball for his home state’s university by Alabama’s legendary football coach, Bear Bryant, but deciding to come to Kansas instead.

*Teaming with Spencer Haywood in Seattle and Pistol Pete Maravich in New Orleans. If you think Stallworth liked to shoot, ask him about Pistol.

*Playing in the NBA against Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and so many other greats.

*Scoring 50 points against Missouri on Feb. 26, 1972.

Those are the stories everyone likes to discuss, but Stallworth knows that his parents, both of whom were educators in his small hometown of Hartselle, Ala., were right when they told him books would do even more for him than basketball.

After his NBA career ended, Stallworth owned a couple of restaurants before he moved back to Lawrence and went to work for his alma mater. Stallworth held big jobs for the Med Center and on the Lawrence campus during his 22 years working for KU.

“When the classrooms began crumbling,” as Stallworth put it, he oversaw a budget of nearly $50 million for projects designed to improve the infrastructure.

His degree, he said, did do more for him even than his sweet jumper. Tonight, he’ll showcase his lefty putting stroke.

“I’ve been putting pretty good lately,” said Stallworth, one of the Masters at tonight’s event.

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, former Royals pitcher and KU baseball coach Marty Pattin, Firekeeper head pro Randy Towner and Lawrence Country Club assistant pro Kristen Samp are among other Lawrence Masters participating in the event.

A ticket for the Mingle with the Masters pre-party, which begins at 6:30 is $50. Adult open golf begins at 7:30 and costs $35.

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