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Pair of Lipscomb hoops hall of famers pass away

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Lipscomb athletics department has been saddened by the loss of two Hall of Fame members in the past several months.

Roy Sewell, Jr., was inducted into the Lipscomb Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. John Henderson was inducted in 1996.

Henderson, 85, passed away May 27. Sewell, 84, died in Sparta, Tennessee July 15.

Both were members of the 1951 Lipscomb basketball team that beat Vanderbilt 59-57 on Jan. 2, 1951 at old McQuiddy Gym. Sewell scored a game-high 16 points.

 “It was a big win for us,” Sewell said in an interview with Bill Traughber, noted Nashville sports historian and writer in a story for the Commodore History Corner dated Jan. 26, 2005. “It was our biggest game; they were from the SEC and Division I.

“We had played them before and were familiar with their players and offense. We were able to shut off some of the things they were able to do.”

Henderson played basketball from 1947-51. He was Lipscomb’s most valuable player in basketball in ‘49, ’50 and ’51, starting 100 straight games. Henderson also was a member of the Lipscomb golf team for three years and was the team captain.

Retired from the State of Tennessee Employment Security Department, he was a member of Radnor Church of Christ.

Sewell attended Lipscomb University from 1948-52. He was a two-time All-Conference player in basketball his junior and senior years. He was also named honorable mention All-American in ’51 and ’52. The 1950-51 team won 18 games and the 1951-52 team was credited with 19 victories. Sewell served as captain of the team as both a junior and senior.

As a high school basketball coach Sewell excelled winning more than 600 games in 35 years as the coach at White County High School in Sparta. His teams played in the state tournament six times. He also served as a history teacher.

In 2003 Sewell was inducted into the White County Sports Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Church of Christ at West Sparta. He was also a veteran having served in the United States Army during the Korean War.