Sunday, June 4, 2023

Cotton Nash, 3-time All-American in Kentucky who played in NBA and MLB, passes away

LEXINGTON – Charles “Cotton” Nash, a three-time All-America forward at Kentucky who played in the NBA, ABA and Major League Baseball, has died. He was 80 years old.

The school announced her death Tuesday after being notified by Nash’s son, Patrick, but did not give a cause.

Nicknamed “Cotton” as a child in reference to his bright blonde hair, the versatile Nash averaged 22.7 points and 12.3 rebounds in 78 games from 1962–64. His 1,770 points ranked first in school history at the end of his collegiate career and currently ranks ninth. His 962 rebounds ranks fifth.

Nash became one of just 13 players to be in the NBA and in the majors. Drafted 14th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964, he played there and for the San Francisco Warriors during the ’64–’65 NBA season. Nash later played for the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA in 1967–68.

Nash played nine seasons of professional baseball, including 13 games in the majors between 1967 and 1970, as a first baseman and outfielder with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins. He signed his first pro deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

Nash was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection in basketball and runner-up as National Player of the Year as a senior. He helped the Wildcats win two SEC Championships on the court and earned All-SEC Eastern Division honors in baseball.

He also threw the discus in track and field.

Nash’s number 44 basketball jersey hangs from the ceiling at Rupp Arena and he is a member of the UK Athletics and Kentucky Sports Halls of Fame.

“His accomplishments in basketball and baseball make him rare in American sports history,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement.

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