A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 05, 2011
“Finish last in medical school and they call you ‘doctor‘“ (Texas basketball coach Abe Lemons)

College basketball coach Abe Lemons (1922-2002) is credited with saying:

“I’m sure I’d rather be something else. You know what they call the guy who finishes last in medical school? They call him doctor.”

Lemons’ notable quote (one of many) has been cited in print since at least November 1978. Lemons possibly said the line in 1976, his first year as basketball coach at the University of Texas.


Wikipedia: Abe Lemons
Abe Lemons (November 21, 1922 - September 2, 2002) was one of the most successful head basketball coaches in Oklahoma history.

Lemons grew up in the town of Walters, Oklahoma. He served in World War II in the Pacific and often referred to the pressures of his war experience to put sports pressures into perspective. He joined Oklahoma City University (OCU) as a student in 1947.

At OCU, Lemons excelled as a player and coach in basketball for more than 40 years. In 34 seasons of coaching, he accomplished 599 victories and 343 losses, ranking fifth among the winningest men’s active collegiate coaches. He coached several All-America & future NBA players, such as Arnold Short & Hub Reed.

Lemons spent 25 years as head coach at OCU. His first 18 years at OCU from 1955ā€“1973, during which he led OCU to a 309-181 record, two NIT berths and seven NCAA tournament appearances in 1956, 1957, 1963ā€“1966 and 1973. OCU also won the All-College Tournament in 1965.

From 1973-1976 Lemons was head coach at Pan American University, where he was named 1974-1975 Texas Coach of the Year. He took the head coaching position at the University of Texas in 1976. He served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1977 and was named National Coach of the Year in 1978. Lemons’ last season at Texas was 1982.
(...)
Notable Quotes
Lemons is noted for many humorous and insightful quotes he has made over his career, including the following:

. “Finish last in your league and they call you ‘Idiot’. Finish last in medical school and they call you ‘Doctor’.”

24 November 1978, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Sweet Lemons” by John Hall, pg. E3:
‘You know what they call the guy who finishes last in medical school? They call him Doctor.”

9 December 1980, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Peeling Lemons” by John Hall, pg. D3:
Abe Lemons said it awhile ago. “I’m sure I’d rather be something else,” he said. “You know what they call the guy who finishes last in medical school? They call him Doctor!”

Google Books
Sportswit
By Lee Green
New York, NY: Harper & Row
1984
Pg. 69:
ABE LEMONS Texas basketball coach:
“I’m sure I’d rather be doing something else. You know what they call the guy who finishes last in medical school? They call him Doctor!”

Google News Archive
13 May 1984, Victoria (TX) Advocate, “Lemons Spiritual Boss Of Comedic Coaching” by Richard Hoffer, pg. 8B, col. 5:
Lemons on job security: “I’m sure I’d rather be something else. You know what they call the guy who finishes last in medical school? They call him doctor.”

Google News Archive
4 April 1989, Middlesboro (KY)Daily News, “Coaches set up a fund,” pg.10, col.1:
“When you graduate last from medical school they call you doctor,” Heathcote said. “When you finish last in your conference, they call you fired.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 05, 2011 • Permalink