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In Memory of Connie Dierking: A Cincinnati Basketball Great
CINCINNATI (Rob Braun) -- It is with very heavy hearts that we report the passing of University of Cincinnati Royals player, Connie Dierking.
Connie was the father of our friend and co-worker, Cammy Dierking. Connie Dierking was born in Brooklyn 77 years ago. His natural athleticism and six-ten frame first carried him to Valley Stream High School in New York and then to the University of Cincinnati.
Playing center he anchored the Bearcat teams and earned All-American status in 1958. Later that year he was a first round pick by the NBA's Syracuse Nationals.
"I signed for $8,000. That s a fact. Now a first pick signs for millions. So it's too soon old and too late smart ... haha!"
After two years he jumped to the American Basketball League for three seasons. In 1963 it was back to the NBA with the 76ers. The Sixers eventually traded Dierking and two others to San Francisco to secure the services of Wilt Chamberlain. Before that season was over Connie was back in the Queen City, his adopted home, and suiting up for the Royals at the Cincinnati Gardens.
As a Royal Connie got the chance to show his old team what he could do against the man they had traded him to get.
"We were playing the 76ers in this building and Wilt was with them at the time and I had the best game of my NBA career. I think I scored 45 points against Wilt."
Connie spent five years at the Cincinnati Gardens battling under the boards and giving fans everything he had, fans he grew to know personally.
"That's something the teams in the bigger cities didn't have because there's different people in the seats at different times. Here, the same people were there for every game."
Connie's 14 years as a pro ended with a final stop in Philadelphia. In a career where he was tasked with shutting down the biggest man each team had to offer, Connie still averaged ten points a game.
However, basketball was just one part of Connie's life. Another involved family, specifically five talented and beautiful daughters. Each of whom, including our friend Cammy, went on to make their father very proud.
They were no doubt inspired by dad's work ethic. Connie was still working in the marketing field until this November. That's when an unfortunate fall touched off the chain of health events which eventually led his body to shutdown. Up to that point he was enjoying working out and playing a lot of golf, most often with Robyn, his loving wife of 30 years.
We remember Connie Dierking as a fine collegiate and professional athlete. But for those of us lucky enough to know the family he leaves behind we can can clearly see he went on to accomplish something much, much greater.
Cammy wanted us to thank everyone on behalf of her family for their kind words and prayers.
Details on services, which are open to the public:
-Visitation will be held Friday, January 3rd from 4pm-8pm at Thomas-Justin Memorial Funeral Home on Montgomery Road in Sycamore Township.
-A mass of Christian burial will be held on Saturday, January 4th at 10a.m. at All Saints Parish in Montgomery. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the American Cancer Society or Hospice of Cincinnati.
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