UHS basketball great Gail Evans dead at age 73

Gail Evans, one of the greatest players in Urbana High School boys basketball history, died at the age of 73 in Plantation, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 18.

Evans played for the Hillclimbers from 1957-61 and scored 1,473 points – second-most in school history.

His points-per-game averages were 19.9 in 58-59, 18.1 in 59-60 and 17.2 in 60-61.

“He could have been mayor of Urbana – he was that well known,” Johnny Evans, Gail’s brother, said. “He played with some great guys up there.”

Gail scored 447 points in the 1960-61 season, which ranks 5th all time in UHS history for points scored in one season.

“He was a very good athlete,” Van Evans, Gail’s brother, said. “He was a ladies’ man, but he was very good.”

Evans was named first-team All-Ohio in Class AA for 1960-61, and was also the team MVP that season.

During his UHS career, Evans helped lead the Hillclimbers to three league titles (1959, ‘60, ‘61), two sectional titles (1960, ‘61), two district titles (1960, 61) and one regional championship (1961).

The Hillclimbers were state runners-up in 1961 as they finished 25-1 overall.

“We had so much support,” Johnny said. “I get chills thinking about it. Every night when we practiced, there were gobs and gobs of people that came out.”

UHS beat Cleveland East Tech, 61-60, in the state semifinal and lost to Portsmouth, 50-44, in the state championship game.

Van said Gail was a friendly guy, with a distinctive laugh.

“He was a gentleman – a very likable man,” Van said. “He loved fishing and softball – he loved all sports.”

According to his brothers, Gail was an accomplished baseball player and tried out for the Cincinnati Reds.

He also punted for the Hillclimbers’ football team in high school.

Services for Gail Evans are pending at Vernon Funeral Home in Urbana.

Citizen staff report