Coach Don Lane has spent 41 years at Transylvania University, making his mark on nearly every student, professor, staff member, and visitor who has passed through the college in the last four decades. After he retires from the faculty this month, his final mark will be in the Beck Center, where he is being honored by placing his signature on the basketball court.
In a halftime ceremony Nov. 26 during the annual Transylvania vs. Centre College basketball game, Lane was surprised with an announcement by Transylvania president R. Owen Williams that his signature would be inscribed in two places on the floor, including in front of the home bench where his son, Brian Lane, now prowls the sidelines as the coach of the Pioneers.
“It is a truly amazing honor that a school that’s been very special to me has chosen to honor me in this way,” Don Lane said after learning the news. “To know that my name will always be on the floor, I hope every player knows that they helped me get here. Nobody does what I’ve gotten to do without great players. I’m tremendously honored.”
The floor will be painted in time for the Don Lane Classic, taking place in the Beck Center Dec. 17-18.
Lane is a fixture, not only at Transylvania, but in Kentucky basketball history. He was inducted into the Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004 after a 26-year career as head coach at Transylvania, during which he racked up a 509-245 record and earned a number of accolades, including NAIA, NABC and Basketball Times National Coach of the Year in 2001, NAIA District Coach of the Year in 1993, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Kentucky College Coach of the Year three times, and coach of the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival Team. He retired in 2001 after leading the Pioneers to a No. 1 ranking in the country for the first time in school history and finishing 27-2.
Don Lane waves to a throng of faculty, staff, and students who gathered
His legacy at Transylvania extends even further, with 41 years on the exercise science and physical education faculty and 20 years as director of athletics (from 1975-96), during which time Transylvania doubled the number of varsity sports it offered.
Brian Lane succeeded him as coach in 2001, continuing the Lane legacy on the Transylvania hardwood.
“Of course, Brian is a big part of this, as well,” Don Lane said. “I hope he knows that every time he steps on it. And maybe one day I’ll have a grandson or granddaughter play here, and they’ll see how special this place is to our family.”