Former JBU Basketball Coach Passes Away

Sam Starkey became JBU

Sam Starkey became JBU's first men's basketball coach in 1958.

Siloam Springs, Ark. (May 11, 2011) — Dr. Sam Starkey, JBU’s first men’s basketball coach, passed away on Tuesday morning at the Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital.  He was 80 years old.

In 1958, Dr. Starkey began a new era of JBU athletics by taking on the task of building JBU’s men’s basketball program.  In four years as head coach (1958-1963), Dr. Starkey positioned JBU as one of the premier basketball programs amongst small colleges. In 1961, Dr. Starkey guided JBU as they won the Council for Advancement of Small Colleges (CASC) National Championship, and a year later as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), he guided JBU to the District 17 Playoffs.

Dr. Starkey was inducted in the JBU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 under the Pioneer category and again in 2010 under the Team category. 

He is survived by his wife Sarah Marie Starkey, daughter Jessica Lynn Knowles and husband Chuck of Liberal, Kan, son Samuel J. Starkey III and wife Shari of Burkburnett, Texas, son Barton Starkey and wife Stacy of Webb City, Mo., eight grandchildren (Sarah Robins, Jonathan Robins, Abigail Robins, Samuel “Bo” Starkey IV, Jacob Starkey, Rachael Starkey, Barton Starkey Jr., Benjamin Starkey), and numerous nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, May 12 from 6-8 p.m. at Backstrom-Pyeatte Funeral Home in Siloam Springs, and the funeral will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Siloam Springs on Friday, May 13 at 2pm.

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Sam Starkey became JBU

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Sam Starkey became JBU's first men's basketball coach in 1958.