For many years, one name was at the top of most Hardin County’s lists when it came to basketball: Hardin McLane.

At 87, he had a long career in basketball and real estate.

McLane began his basketball career at Western Kentucky University when coach EA Diddle awarded him a four-year scholarship as a manager.

During his freshman year at Western, McLane met Marilyn, but Diddle didn’t like his players or student staff getting married and McLane didn’t want to lose his scholarship. But when he told Diddle about it, Diddle told him that he would never find a better girl and that he would marry her. They have been married for 66 years.

McLane began his coaching career at Caneyville High in Grayson County and was there two years before moving to Elizabethtown Catholic High School.

The school was small and hadn’t won a lot of games. Its first year, the team won 25 games and went on to win. He said he won 80% of his games in his 10 years there.

He said he wanted his players to want basketball.

While coaching, he would go to his opponents’ games to try to figure out what the opposing team would do and how to create plays to stop them.

“We had to take their capacity away from them,” he said.

He would establish defensive plays to keep players from doing what they did best and make them play and shoot in a different way than they were used to.

“When he was looking for teams, he watched the players and knew their every move and how to guard against that move,” said Marilyn. “I think that’s what made him so good.”

He coached at Elizabethtown Catholic from 1958 to 1968.

Former college and pro player and NCAA basketball coach Clem Haskins has said he played against McLane’s teams in high school.

“He is an exceptional coach and he was ahead of his time,” he said. “He did things in basketball that few people did and he coached his opponents.”

He said Hardin was able to switch defense and confuse his opponents.

“I know, I was one of them,” Haskins said.

When McLane first started coaching, he figured he would only work on summer programs when school was out. But instead, someone encouraged him to get his real estate license.

He was a residential agent for many years at his company Hardin McLane Realtors with his wife and children. He later started doing primarily commercial real estate when he moved to Coldwell Banker.

He made numerous transactions with the state’s Winn-Dixie stores and sold the former location of the Severns Valley Baptist Church.

Often, brokers will send him people who want to learn about real estate, he said.

“In residential real estate, they buy with their heart, in commerce, everything is in their mind,” he told them.

Real estate helped him build his career and support his family, which allowed him to do things with basketball, something he loved.

Real estate agent Don Cecil said he has known McLane since he was a coach at Elizabethtown Catholic.

“He quickly gained the respect of everyone associated with high school sports,” said Cecil. “His prowess then took him to the professional basketball association where he was also successful.”

But, he said, that respect didn’t stop on the basketball court.

“He is also respected for his knowledge and fairness in his real estate transactions,” he said. “I consider myself a lucky guy who I can call Hardin and Marilyn McLane my friends.”

McLane worked with the Kentucky colonels, coached Kentucky all-star teams, and was the first barons coach at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College.

As far as coaching is concerned, he wrote the book on it, literally. He compiled and edited a book called “Championship Basketball by 12 Great Coaches”.

McLane also had a career as a broadcast color basketball commentator on television and radio.

He worked with WAVE for 12 years and WIEL for 19 years, often covering University of Kentucky and Louisville games as well as high school tournaments.

Several times people stopped by his real estate agent’s office to talk about games.

Back then, commentators didn’t have computers or smartphones to view stats during a game like they do today. He just had to remember and know the information he would talk about during a game.

When Elizabethtown High School won his state championship at Rupp Arena in 2000, he said he put his headphones on and said, “It doesn’t get better than that.”

People still recognize him today for his coaching days and basketball coverage, he said.

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