Funeral arrangements set for former UK All-American

Billy Ray Lickert with Adolph Rupp, UK Basketball

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Funeral arrangements are set for former University of Kentucky basketball All-American Billy Ray Lickert.  He died Wednesday at the age of 78.

Visitation will be Sunday, September 17, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Milward Funeral Home on Southland Drive in Lexington.

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The funeral will be Monday, September 18, at 11:00 a.m. at Crestwood Christian Church on Bellefonte Drive in Lexington.

The visitation and funeral are open to the public.

Billy Ray Lickert was a Helms Foundation All-American in 1961 and three-time All-Southeastern Conference player for the Wildcats.

Lickert became the 12th player in program history to amass 1,000 career points and was a three-year letterwinner (1959-61) under legendary coach Adolph Rupp. He was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the fifth round of the 1961 NBA Draft.

“Billy Ray Lickert was a Wildcat in the truest sense,” UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said. “He lived the dream that so many people in our state share in wearing the Blue and White and our program and university are better for it. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”

Lickert was a state-wide name after winning the 1957 Kentucky Mr. Basketball award before becoming an All-SEC and All-American player at Kentucky. He grew up just across the street from UK’s campus as a child and told Oscar Combs, a friend of Lickert’s and member of the local media, in a recent podcast interview that he always dreamed of playing at Kentucky.

“I was a Wildcat,” Lickert told Combs in the “Conversations with Oscar Combs” podcast. “Every kid back in those days, you had aspirations of being able to play for Kentucky. That’s what everybody – all my friends – then wanted to do.”

He averaged 14.7 points per game in 73 appearances over three seasons for Kentucky. Lickert totaled 1,076 career points and earned All-SEC third-team honors in 1959, second-team recognition in 1960 and was a first-team selection in 1961. His senior season he averaged 16.1 points per game en route to his All-America status.

Asked by Combs in the recent podcast interview how he would like to be remembered, he hoped fans would think of him as a “good basketball player” who gave it his all.

“When I’m talking about a basketball player, I’m thinking about all this talk today about position-less players. Well, that’s what I considered myself to have been,” Lickert told Combs. “I could play multiple positions, I could play defense, I could rebound for my size. So I would like to be remembered as a good basketball player who gave it all and represented the university and my family as best I could.”

Lickert, a Lexington native, is also a member of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame after leading Lafayette High School to a state title in 1957.

Survivors of Lickert include his wife, Sue, and his sons, Dick and Doug.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.