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KNOXVILLE — Allan Houston, former Tennessee basketball player who is now with the New York Knicks, has established an academic scholarship program in his father’s name.

The Wade Houston Scholarships will be awarded to four African American undergraduate students at the Knoxville campus. The first of the $6,250 awards, which may be renewed annually, will be made for the 2003-04 academic year.

The announcement of the gift will be made at Saturday’s Tennessee-Louisville men’s basketball game at Thompson-Boling arena. Alice Houston, Wade’s wife and Allan’s mother, will represent the family.

Wade Houston was head basketball coach at Tennessee from the spring of 1989 to 1994 and previously was an assistant coach at the University of Louisville.

Allan, who graduated from UT in 1993, played for his father and is the all-time leading scorer for the UT men’s program. Allan was also the second leading all-time scorer in the Southeastern Conference when he graduated.

“This is a wonderful gift to Wade Houston and to the University of Tennessee,” UT President John W. Shumaker said. “I know Wade is enormously proud of Allan’s accomplishments, and this gift speaks clearly about the bond they share as father and son.”

Provost Loren Crabtree said the scholarship dollars support one of the university’s highest priorities.

“Both Wade and Allan Houston represented this university well while they were here. Helping us recruit more African American students builds on that legacy and is a lasting contribution from the Houston family,” Crabtree said.

“My father has been a strong positive influence in my life,” Allan said. “Both as my dad and as my coach he always stressed getting a good education and giving of yourself to help others. He not only talked to me about these things but he also lived them before me.

“I thought this scholarship was an excellent way to honor him and what he has taught me. I am just proud to be able to show him how much I appreciate him, support my alma mater, and help the next generation in one gesture.”

Wade Houston played basketball four years at the University of Louisville and graduated in 1966. He was the first African American basketball player at Louisville.

He returned to his alma mater in 1976 as assistant basketball coach, and during his tenure he helped lead Louisville to NCAA championships in 1980 and 1986. He is a member of Louisville’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The senior Houston currently is an entrepreneur in the automotive warehousing, transportation and logistics industry.

Allan Houston was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1993 National Basketball Association draft. He played three seasons with the Pistons before signing as a free agent with the New York Knicks.

He actively supports youth mentoring and education programs nationally. He is a mentor with Mentoring USA and hosts “Allan’s Courtside Classroom” which brings students in the New York City Department of Education-s mentoring program courtside during warm-ups for Knicks’ games.