By: Kean Calloway
During the Golden Era the king of the hardwood floor was Don Yates. Yates was probably the most celebrated athlete to ever play for Uniontown High School, by leading the Red Raiders to the state finals in 1962. In his Red Raider career he won all state honors 2 years in a row and he received more votes then everybody for honors award. A 1962 graduate he starred for three consecutive season and has left a lot of memories in this school. Yates believe that the playground system for Uniontown High School bred success.
Don Yates made up for his disappointment his fresh and sophomore year by winning the state championship in 1962 which was his senior year. Yates was known for his basketball career at Uniontown. But what many don’t know is that he was a football star as well. He took Uni0ntown football team to states twice in a row. Don also did track having the best time in the hundred out of everybody in the school. He was really the most talented student to ever go to Uniontown.
Don Yates had struggled in his junior year with his grades. Never having a father figure he said he was basically guiding himself through life with the help of his mom. After he failed he had to go to summer school. After failing summer school he could not play basketball for half the year. Through all the drama he went through he graduated in 1962 and went to college. After 2 years in college Don got drafted to the St. Louis hawks in the NBA.
Don made a big mistake after being drafted to the NBA. The coach for the St. Louis Hawks told Yates that he would not make it on his team. The NBA told Yates that they would get him drafted to Chicago. Yet, Yates told them that if he could not make it with the Hawks, he did not want to be in the NBA. 3 Years later Yates got the chance to play over seas. He played overseas for 4 years and came back to the U.S. because he didn’t make the drafted the next year.
Don Yates who is now 70 years old now resides in Crofton, MD with his wife Kathleen. He has three daughters and five grandchildren.
Uniontown High School online school newspaper Tomahawk Talk