Ex-U of L player graduating 41 years later

Former University of Louisville basketball standout Henry Bacon, a member of the 1972 Final Four team with the Cardinals, never graduated. But this weekend – 41 years after leaving the school – Bacon will walk across the stage during U of L's commencement ceremonies after finishing up his last class.

Henry Bacon was determined to graduate.

The former University of Louisville basketball standout was only one class shy when he left the school for the American Basketball Association after the 1972 season. He kept his ID card in his wallet all these years.

"I kept that ID close to me as a motivator" Bacon told Cardinal Authority earlier this week. "I would always look in my wallet and would always say, ‘One of these days, one of these days, one of these days'."

Now, a 64-year-old grandfather who drives a Jefferson County school bus as a "hobby" is finally getting his degree.

Bacon has finished up that last class and on Saturday will walk across the stage with the rest of the graduates in the Class of 2013 at U of L's commencement ceremony at the KFC Yum Center.

"It never left my mind for a moment," Bacon said. "And I endured a lot of I won't say hardship but concentration knowing through the years that I was not a college graduate. I always said I attended U of L for four years.

"But now I can say, I have a degree from the University of Louisville."

Bacon said after he retired that he started driving a school bus and also opted to go back and pick up the one class he lacked for the degree.

He received a B-plus in a health education class and has received his Education Degree with a minor in physical education.

"I have been partying every since I pushed that last button and was finished with my final class," Bacon said. "I was lucky and God blessed to have a talent that put me through school. It's been a blessing for me to be able to complete this.

"I like motivating kids from an early age and seeing things through."

Bacon finished his playing career at U of L with 976 career points and 298 assists. He averaged 11.2 points in three seasons for the Cardinals.

But this weekend will earn his biggest feat at U of L.

"Now, I'm part of two Final Four teams," Bacon joked. "I was on the 1972 team and am graduating in 2013, so I am a part of the NCAA Championship team this year."

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