Ken Gunning

Ken Gunning (Photo: Peach Basket Society)

(Contributor: Rob Jiang)

Ken Gunning Biography

Kenneth “Ken” Woodrow Gunning was a basketball player and coach from Shelbyville, Indiana who played for three seasons under coach Everett Dean at Indiana University between the years of 1934 and 1937. Ken Gunning led the Hoosiers in scoring in all three years and played professional basketball a total of two seasons (1937-38, 1945-46) after college. Ken Gunning then served as a head coach at both the college and high school levels for a total of 22 years. He passed away on April 2, 1991 at the age of 76.

  • Name: Kenneth Woodrow Gunning
  • Position: Guard / Forward
  • Nationality: USA
  • Birthday: June 4, 1914 in Shelbyville, Indiana
  • Died: April 2, 1991 (76 years old) in Seguin, Texas
  • Hometown: Shelbyville, Indiana
  • High School: Shelbyville High School
  • Height: 5’11” (180 cm)
  • Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
  • Jersey: #3
  • Seasons as a Player at Indiana University: 3 (1934-1935, 1935-1936, 1936-1937)
  • Seasons as a Professional Basketball Player: 2 (1937-1938, 1945)
  • Seasons as a Head Coach: 22 (1938-1960)

Accomplishments, Awards, and Accolades

  • Second-team All-American by the Omaha World-Herald (1937)
  • 2 x All-Big Ten (1935, 1936)

Ken Gunning High School Career

Ken Gunning played at Shelbyville High School (Golden Bears) located in Shelbyville, Indiana for three seasons between the years of 1930 and 1933.

Ken Gunning Seasons as a Indiana University Player

1934-1935 Indiana Basketball Season
Everett Dean (11th Season)
14-6 (8-4 Big Ten)
4th Place Big Ten

1935-1936 Indiana Basketball Season
Everett Dean (12th Season)
18-2 (11-1 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten

1936-1937 Indiana Basketball Season
Everett Dean (13th Season)
13-7 (6-6 Big Ten)
6th Place Big Ten

Ken Gunning Statistics as a Hoosier

1934-1935 20 63 255 0.280 42 56 0.750 168 8.4
1935-1936 20 70 220 0.318 43 61 0.705 183 9.2
1936-1937 19 66 227 0.291 31 49 0.633 163 8.6
Totals 59 199 302 0.296 116 166 0.699 512 8.7

Ken Gunning Indiana University Basketball Career

Ken Gunning enrolled at Indiana University in 1933 and would end up playing for coach Everett Dean in 1934 during Dean’s 11th season with the Hoosiers. Despite his size, the 5-foot-11 Shelbyville native played both the guard and forward position in college. Coming to Indiana University, Ken Gunning was largely known as a shooting ace who could attack and score buckets from multiple angles on the court.

1934-1935 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball Team (Photo: IU Archives)

Ken Gunning joined the men’s basketball program as a player during his sophomore year of college. He was Indiana’s fastest player on the court and led Indiana in scoring with 8.4 points per game. During the 1934-1935 season, Coach Everett Dean moved Gunning to the forward position to get him even more opportunities to score the ball.

1935-1936 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball Team. Gunning is 3rd from the right, Front Row. (Photo: IU Archives)

During Ken Gunning’s time at IU, his most successful season was the 1935-1936 season where the Hoosiers only lost twice during the entire season. The Hoosiers returned four of their five starters and seven lettermen in basketball. The team would also be getting Vern Huffman back from a football injury to give Indiana even more roster depth.

Indiana won every match-up except two away contests against DePaul and Ohio State. The Hoosiers set school records in both conference and non-conference wins and the season would be Everett Dean’s greatest season as head coach.

1936-1937 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball Team (Photo: IU Archives)

In the 1936-1937 season, then-senior Ken Gunning was named captain of the Indiana University men’s basketball team alongside senior teammate Vernon Huffman. By the end of the season, Ken Gunning earned All-American honors and he was given the Balfour Award in the same year. Despite the efforts of Gunning, the Hoosiers finished with a 13-7 overall record and 6-6 in the conference play.

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Ken Gunning as a Professional Player

After graduating from Indiana University, Ken Gunning played in the National Basketball League (NBL) for the Whiting Ciesar All-Americans. He only played a single season for Whiting during the 1937-1938 season. Gunning averaged 7.0 points per game and helped Whiting finish second in the Western Division of the NBL.

The Whiting Ciesar All-Americans advanced to the playoffs but ultimately lost to the Oshkosh All-Stars in the Western Division Semi-Finals. In the 0-2 series loss, Gunning averaged 5.5 points. Whiting finished the 1937-1938 season with a 12-3 overall record.

During his time at Western New Mexico University where he was the head basketball coach, Ken Gunning also played semi-professional baseball in 1939 for the Moline Plow Boys of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa (3-I) League.

Ken Gunning had one final stint as a player when he rejoined the NBL and appeared in one game for the Indianapolis Kautskys in the 1945-1946 NBL season.

Career Summary as a Player

  • 1937-1938 Whiting Ciesar All-Americans (National Basketball League)
  • 1939 Moline Plow Boys (3-I League)
  • 1945 Indianapolis Kautskys (National Basketball League)

Ken Gunning as a Head Coach

Ken Gunning wanted to take a stab at coaching once he finished his single year in the National Basketball League. He was hired by Western New Mexico University to serve as the head basketball coach of the Mustangs. He coached there for an entire decade and has been named into the Western New Mexico Hall of Fame.

His next move was to coach a bigger basketball program, Wichita State in Wichita, Kansas. Unfortunately for Gunning, his time with the Shockers was not very successful. During his three years at Wichita State, where he was both the basketball and baseball coach, he finished with a basketball record of 26–49 (.347).

Head Coach Ken Gunning and the Connersville High School Basketball Team (1953-1954) (Photo: Connersville News Examiner)

Gunning finished his career as a coach at Connersville High School in Connersville, Indiana. There he coached the Connersville Spartans for 9 seasons.

Career Summary as a Head Coach

  • 1938-1948 Western New Mexico University
  • 1948-1951 Wichita State University
  • 1951-1960 Connersville High School

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