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Joe C. Meriweather, 59,

Indiana's center ClemJohnson(45) (Right) picks up his first foul as New York's forward Joe C. Meriweather (50) (Left) goes for

Indiana's center Clemon Johnson(45) (Right) picks up his first foul as New York's forward Joe C. Meriweather (50) (Left) goes in for the shot during first period action 11/21.

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Updated: November 18, 2013 7:39AM

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Former NBA player Joe C. Meriweather, who attended Southern Illinois in Carbondale, has died in Columbus, Ga. He was 59.

Park University of Missouri athletic department spokesman Steve Wilson says Mr. Meriweather, of Phenix City, Ala., died unexpectedly Sunday, and cause of death was unknown.

The 6-foot-10, 10-year NBA veteran played for the Houston Rockets, the Atlanta Hawks, the New Orleans Jazz, the New York Knicks and the Kansas City Kings. He also played in Italy and Spain.

Mr. Meriweather was the 11th pick in the 1975 NBA draft.

Most recently, Mr. Meriweather was CEO of the 3C’s Fatherhood Education Partnership, an organization “developed in response to the worsening condition of father absence,” according to its mission statement. In his profile on the group’s website, Mr. Meriweather said “I grew up without a father in the home and understand firsthand the holes that fathers leave in their families when they are absent.”

Attending Central-Phenix City High, Mr. Meriweather did not play basketball until his junior year, when he was 6-6. He grew to 6-10 during his senior year, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

He is listed as receiving his bachelor’s degree in management and human relations from MidAmerica Nazarene University and a master’s in public affairs from Park University.

Wilson said Mr. Meriweather is the most successful women’s basketball coach in Park University history. He led the team to its only NAIA national championship tournament in the 2005-06 season.

He is in the SIUC Hall of Fame.


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