John Oldham

John Oldham (born June 22, 1923)

Teams coached: Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Tennessee Tech record: 118-83 (.587)
Western Kentucky record: 142-40 (.780) **
Overall record: 260-123 (.679) **

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  5  (1958, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1970) **
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  1  (1966) **
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  0 **
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  1  (1965)
  • Ohio Valley Regular Season Champion:  7  (1956, 1958, 1963, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971)
  • Ohio Valley Tournament Champion:  2  (1965, 1966)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1964-1971 Western Kentucky
1955-1964 Tennessee Tech

John Oldham Facts

  • John O. Oldham
  • Born June 22, 1923
  • Hometown: Hartford, Kentucky
  • Alma Mater: Western Kentucky University (BA, 1949)
  • After graduating from Hartford HS (KY), Oldham played at WKU under head coach E.A. Diddle
    • Was a UPI third-team All-American in 1949 and later had his jersey #42 retired by the program
    • Time at WKU was interrupted by World War II, during which Oldham served three years in the US Navy
    • Drafted in the 2nd round of the 1949 NBA Draft and spent two years playing for the Fort Wayne (now Detroit) Pistons
  • Started his coaching career with a three-year stint at College HS in Bowling Green, KY
  • Hired in 1955 to be the head coach at Tennessee Tech, leading the Golden Eagles for nine seasons
  • Returned to alma mater in WKU to spend the next seven seasons as the Hilltoppers’ head coach
    • Won 142 games, reaching the NCAA Tournament five times and winning four more Ohio Valley titles
      • The Toppers’ 1971 NCAA Tournament appearance, in which Oldham’s team reached the Final Four, was later vacated by the NCAA due to an ineligible player on the roster
  • Retired from coaching in 1971 and became the Western Kentucky University athletic director, a position he held until 1986
  • Has been inducted into the following: Kentucky Athletic HOF (1986), Ohio Valley Conference HOF (1989), Kentucky High School HOF (1990), Tennessee Tech Sports HOF (1990) and WKU Athletic HOF (1991)
  • Along with his wife, Bobbie, has one son and one daughter

John Oldham Coaching Tree

  • Wayne Chapman (Kentucky Wesleyan)
  • Benny Dees (Western Carolina, Wyoming, New Orleans)
  • Clem Haskins (Minnesota, Western Kentucky)
  • Jim Richards (Western Kentucky)
  • Ken Sidwell (Belmont, Tennessee Tech)
  • Ralph Underhill (Wright State)


** Listed records and accomplishments for this coach do not include wins or appearances later vacated by the NCAA