Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Moment A D-I Basketball Coach Stumbled Out Of A Crackhouse

Illustration for article titled The Moment A D-I Basketball Coach Stumbled Out Of A Crackhouse

In 1986, Kevin Mackey led the Cleveland State men's basketball team to a stunning upset victory over Bob Knight's Indiana Hoosiers in the NCAA tournament. Four years later, he came wobbling out of a Cleveland crackhouse into the waiting arms of the police. The local news station was also there, capturing the whole surreal moment on camera.


Earlier this week, we republished Scott Raab's 1992 profile of Kevin Mackey, "Asphalt Junkie." In it, Raab describes the moment Mackey emerged from the crackhouse, effectively ending his career as a coach:

Everybody waits in the summer twilight, waits for Mackey.

Finally, the coach wobbles out, pasty-faced, disheveled, in an aquamarine polo shirt, khaki pants and white sneakers, a blinking, fucked-up, forty-four-year-old leprechaun groping in the dark heart of Cleveland's Third World. As he and Massey climb into the Lincoln, Mackey behind the wheel, it's 8:25 p.m. They turn north up Eddy, inching toward St. Clair.

The next thing Mackey knows, he's up against the side of his midnight-blue ride, hands on the roof, as Gercar arrests him. The Channel 8 camera is already close enough so that on the videotape you can hear Alma Massey say "Would you mind gettin' that out of my face?" in a polite, cold voice.

Mackey peers into the lens, deadpan, the skin slack on his chipmunk cheeks, jowls sagging, eyes lighting up as he struggles to outline a play in his mind.

You can read the rest of the story about Mackey's rise and cataclysmic fall below. Be sure to read Raab's brutally honest annotations as well (which appear in the comments at the bottom of the page). An addict himself at one time, Raab relapsed not long after writing this story, his first big break into magazine journalism.