EMU alumnus Webster “Web” Kirksey has been a frequent WEMU pledge drive guest. He has been a donor and supporter for many years. During Black History Month, we wanted to give him an opportunity to share more about his life and how he became an ardent jazz fan. We were delighted that he could spend time in the studio with Linda Yohn sharing thoughtful, swinging and meaningful music choices ranging from Charlie Parker and Miles Davis to Jimmy Scott.
The former Saginaw High basketball star from 1949-1951 earned the “retro” Mr. Basketball honor from the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan in 2011. The organization awards the Mr. Basketball to the best basketball player in the state of Michigan every year. However, the organization did not start giving the award until 1981. Wisely, the organization thought to recognize Webster Kirksey’s outstanding basketball career long after he had graduated from Michigan Normal College, now known as Eastern Michigan University.
He was a three-time-All-State selection. Kirksey had a great four-year career at Michigan Normal College. In his freshman year, he broke the school’s scoring record (325 points). He also scored a career high (46 points) against Illinois normal in his sophomore year and broke his old record in scoring (369). He was named All-Conference 4 times and became the school’s scoring leader with (1,197 points). In 1978 Webster Kirksey was inducted into Eastern Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame. After graduation from Michigan Normal, he served in the Army and continued his education at Wayne State University, receiving a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Kirksey is now retired and living in Ann Arbor, his home for the past 44 years, with his wife Betty. He worked for 26 years at the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School in Whitmore Lake, working with troubled youth.
Throughout his life, music has been a source of solace and enjoyment for Web Kirksey. We believe you will be moved by his life story and his musical choices. Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support. Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.
Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support. Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.
— Linda Yohn is the WEMU Music Director, and host of 89.1 Jazz. On twitter @LindaYohn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org