Nash, UK star who played in NBA and MLB, dies

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Charles “Cotton” Nash, a three-time All-America forward at Kentucky who played in the NBA, ABA and Major League Baseball, has died. He was 80.

The school announced Nash’s death on Tuesday after being informed by his son, Patrick, but did not specify a cause.

Nicknamed “Cotton” as a child in reference to his bright blond hair, the versatile Nash averaged 22.7 points and 12.3 rebounds over 78 games from 1962-64. His 1,770 points ranked first in school history at the end of his collegiate career and currently stand ninth. His 962 rebounds rank fifth.

Nash went on to become one of just 13 players to appear in the NBA and the majors. Drafted 14th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964, he played there and for the San Francisco Warriors during the ’64-’65 NBA season. Nash later played for the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels in 1967-68.

Nash played nine seasons of professional baseball, including 13 games in the majors between 1967 and 1970 with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins as a first baseman and outfielder. He signed his first pro deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

Nash was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection in basketball and runner-up as national player of the year as a senior. He helped the Wildcats win two SEC championships on the court and earned all-SEC Eastern Division honors in baseball.

He also threw the discus in track and field.

Nash’s No. 44 basketball jersey hangs in the rafters at Rupp Arena and he is a member of the UK Athletics and Kentucky Sports halls of fame.

“His accomplishments in basketball and baseball made him a rarity in American sports history,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement.

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