Casey, Just joining Kentucky’s Hall of Fame

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By Todd Martin

Shelby County will be well represented tonight at the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in Louisville.

Former SCHS and University of Kentucky basketball player Mike Casey and Persimmon Ridge and Louisville Golf founder Elmore Just will be inducted with seven others in the 2009 class during the ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Mike Casey

Casey, who passed away earlier this month, was a native of Simpsonville and led Shelby County High School to its first basketball state championship in 1966.

After the Rockets beat Male, 62-57, in the title game, he was named Mr. Basketball and joined all-time UK greats Dan Issel and Mike Pratt as freshmen.

He averaged 20.1 points per game as a sophomore and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

As a junior he averaged 19.1 points per game.

He was forced to sit out a year after breaking his leg in a car accident, but returned in the 1970-71 season to score 17 per game. He finished his career 13th on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,535 points.

Elmore Just

Just, who passed away in 2001, called Shelby County home for 21 years and is best known in the county for forming Persimmon Ridge Golf Course in western Shelby County.

But before that, Just formed Louisville Golf at the age of 26. During his tenure there, he built the manufacturer into one of the world’s largest producers of persimmon wood clubs.

The company made the Wilson Whale, a persimmon wood manufactured in Louisville – which was in Payne Stewart’s bag when he won his first U.S. Open (1991)  – made the Hogan Apex for the Ben Hogan Company and McGregor Rams.

He was written about in Sports Illustrated, Golf World and Golf Digest and was considered an authority for information on the use of persimmon wood in club manufacturing.

In 1983 he wrote the book "The Persimmon Story," in which he documented his findings on the wood and left a legacy for those traditionalists who want the knowledge of how golf clubs used to be made.

At Bellarmine University, Just was captain of the 1970 undefeated NCAA team.

Just is also in Halls of Fame at Bellarmine University, the Professional Clubmakers’ Society and Kentucky Golf.