June 11, 2014
Lee DeFore in his playing days at Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Lee DeFore, the first Auburn basketball player to score 1,000 points and an All-American in the 1960s, never forgot his athletic roots. He became president of the Auburn Lettermen's Club.
DeFore, 71, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer.
DeFore was Auburn's all-time leading scorer after establishing nine school scoring records when he was drafted by the NBA's New York Knicks in the fourth round following the 1966 season. Even now, he is 16th on Auburn's all-time scoring list. He led the SEC in scoring his senior year.
DeFore was Auburn's Basketball Legend at the 2006 SEC Tournament.
Bill Alexander, also an Auburn basketball player in the 1960s, admired DeFore on and off the court.
"First of all, I remember him as the person that he was. Absolutely impeccable character," Alexander said. "We could see his basketball skills from a statistical perspective. They speak for themselves.
Obviously, he was a great player, a good teammate. But when I think of Lee, it's just the guy that he was. He was a solid citizen."
DeFore and Alexander were instrumental in starting the basketball Lettermen's Club.
"He was active from the beginning. He was instrumental in it," Alexander said.
On the court, Alexander said DeFore "was a shooter supreme. If you left him alone, he was deadly. Shooting was his forte."
Off the court, "he was a quality individual. We had our successes on the basketball court, the football field, the baseball diamond, but what do we take from there and apply it to life? That's what really makes a difference. His success in basketball gave him opportunities in life. What he took from that made him the person that he was. That's the great thing."
He led Sylvan Hills High in Atlanta to two state championships. He was Auburn's team captain.
He moved to Hoover in 1974 and worked with Cobb Theatres as vice president of marketing and concessions. He also worked with Office Depot in corporate sales before retiring in 2007. He was an active member of Hunter Street Baptist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Anna DeFore; sons, Matt DeFore and Michael DeFore; and grandchildren, Brannon, Brett, Mary Tate, Rachel, and Kevin.
The family will receive friends from 9:30-11 a.m. Thursday at Hunter Street Baptist Church. A celebration of his life will follow at 11. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the "V" Foundation for Cancer Research, Big Oak Ranch, or Hunter Street Baptist Church.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: