Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Former Davidson center Knowles dies

Rodney Knowles, one of Davidson's best centers, died Saturday at age 62 in North Topsail Beach. Knowles attended Davidson from 1964 to '68, starring for coach Lefty Driesell.

Knowles, who was 6-foot-9, 215 pounds, was a quality center in his Southern Conference days, a good shooter, strong rebounder and a key to the dominant Wildcats' teams of that era, helping them to NCAA tournament appearances in 1966 and '68. He now ranks fifth on Davidson's lists in career rebounding (804) 17th in scoring (1,344 points) and 10th in scoring average (16,0 ppg). He played briefly with the NBA's Phoenix Suns.

The 1968 team lost to North Carolina 70-66 in a regional semifinal, barely missing a trip to the Final Four.

Knowles finished his Davidson career with a 51.5 field goal percentage and a 75.4 free throw mark.

In 1990, he was appointed by the state legislature to the North Topsail Beach Incorporation Committee and served as the first appointed Mayor. He later was elected the first Mayor of the newly incorporated township, serving in that position from 1990-1993 and again from 2003-2008.

Knowles was inducted into the Davidson Hall of Fame in February.

His memorial service will be held at Faith Harbor United Methodist Church on Thursday at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Operation Topcat, P.O. Box 922, Sneads Ferry, NC, or Faith Harbor United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 2713, Surf City, NC 28445.

--Stan Olson