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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tom Kron, 63, generally considered the best athlete in Tell City history, died Thursday.
A four-sport star at Tell City, he made the biggest mark in basketball. A 6-foot-4 guard, he led the basketball Marksmen to their only semistate championship and a trip to the state final four as a junior in 1961.
He also played for regional championship teams in 1959 (he joined the varsity roster late in the season as a freshman) and 1960.
He averaged 17 points per game as a senior for the Marksmen but later said his scoring average "really wasn't important to me. They didn't keep assists then, but that was probably the stat I'd be most proud of."
He played in the Indiana-Kentucky high school senior all-star games in 1962 and is still the only Perry County boy to have done so.
He went on to star for the University of Kentucky where he was the starting point guard for a team known as Rupp's Runts, which made it to the NCAA tourney championship game in 1966 despite having no starter taller than 6-foot-5. That game was the subject of a 2006 hit movie, "Glory Road."
Kron led the Wildcats with 85.1 percent free-throw shooting that year.
After graduating from Kentucky, Kron played pro basketball three years in the NBA for the St. Louis Hawks and Seattle Supersonics and one year in the old ABA for the Kentucky Colonels. He was a starting guard for Seattle in 1967-68, averaging 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
He remains the only Perry County graduate to make it to the NBA.
He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and was one of the first five inductees into the Tell City Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was born in Owensboro, Ky., and lived most of his adult life in Kentucky. But his formative years were spent in Tell City after his father moved there to become an executive at the General Electric plant. At his Tell City Athletic Hall of Fame induction, Kron said, "This city formed me in more than athletics. It developed the complete person."
He returned to Tell City the following year for the induction of his high-school basketball coach, Orlando "Gunner" Wyman, into the Marksmen's hall of fame. "I've played a lot of basketball ... and I've never had a coach or teacher who cared more about me or taught me more than Gunner Wyman did," said Kron.
Kron also spoke glowingly of his high-school football coach, Joe Talley, and Talley returned the favor. Talley said Kron, who also made all-state in football, was the best quarterback he ever coached and noted that he was recruited by most Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference colleges to play that sport as well.
Kron also starred in baseball and track at Tell City. He set school records in the high jump and high hurdles in track and still ranks fifth in the high hurdles on Tell City's all-time track honor roll.
After his pro basketball career, Kron was successful in business. He served as Kentucky's state tourism commissioner in the early 1980s. He also owned and operated several restaurants, was a corporate vice president and national sales representative for Multi-Gard Insurance of Louisville, was vice president of sales for Balcor American Express in Louisville, and most recently was with PNC Bank in the wealth management department.
A complete obituary appears in our obituary section.