Wesleyan Mourns the Passing of Hall of Fame Coach Herb Kenny

Editorial StaffJuly 13, 20224min
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Herbert Francis Kenny, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Physical Education, Emeritus, and former men’s basketball coach, passed away on July 9 at the age of 89.

Herb earned his BS from Saint Bonaventure University and his MS from the University of Connecticut. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1964 and spent the next 30 years here, serving 27 years as head coach of men’s basketball, 23 years as head coach of golf, and 15 years as an assistant football coach.

Inducted into the Wesleyan Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, Herb was the winningest men’s basketball coach in program history with a career win-loss record of 312–280. He won or tied for the Little Three title eight times while his teams qualified for six Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournaments, reaching the semifinals three times and the title game once (1977). His Cardinal squads also won the Schoenfeld Sportsmanship Award (the highest honor of the Collegiate Basketball Officials Association) five times during his tenure.

Joe Reilly, adjunct professor of physical education and head coach of men’s basketball said that “Coach Kenny impacted so many lives during his coaching career. He was a true ambassador of the great game of basketball at a national level.” Former player Jim Akin ’72 recalled. “You always knew where you stood with Herb and what it would take to beat the other team. And playing as a team, he would tell us, was the only way we were ever going to beat the good ones. He kept us focused, pushed us hard, and made sure we had fun doing it.”

“Herb was very influential to me when I was first hired at Wesleyan and I considered him a mentor and friend, especially in my early years,” said Kate Mullen, adjunct professor of physical education and head coach of women’s basketball. “It was wonderful to reconnect with Herb and his family at his recent induction into the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame.”

Herb is survived by his five children: Herbert Kenny III, Susan Scioscia, Patrick Kenny, Bonnie Kenny, and Kevin Kenny, and their spouses; ten grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. There will be a viewing on Sunday, July 17, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at JJ Ferry Funeral Home, 88 East Main Street in Meriden, and a funeral mass at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 18, at St. Joseph Church, 22 Goodwill Avenue in Meriden. Memorial contributions may be made to: Wesleyan Men’s Basketball Endowment, Office of Advancement, 291 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457 or Hospice Homecare, Allegheny Healthcare Network, Office of Development, 4818 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.