Charles Cleveland Dies At Age 61

Posted Dec 26, 2012

In the early 1970s, one of the most amazing athletes on the campus of The University of Alabama was Charles Cleveland. There was quite a recruiting battle for Cleveland as he completed an extraordinary career at Bibb County High School in Brent.

Charles Cleveland was a three-sport start in the sense that Alabama Basketball Coach C.M. Newton wanted him; Crimson Tide Football Coach Paul Bryant wanted him; and Major League Baseball wanted him.

Eventually, Cleveland selected Alabama basketball.

On Dec. 22, Cleveland died at him home in Tuscaloosa. He was 61 years old.

Funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church with burial in Hopewell Cemetery in Brent.

After playing on Bama’s freshman team in 1972, Cleveland was a starter on the 1973 team that went 22-8; the 1974 team that went 22-4; and the 1975 team that went 22-5. The career record was 66-17. The Crimson Tide won SEC championships his junior and senior seasons.

Cleveland ranked sixth on Alabama’s career scoring list when he finished playing. He had scored 579 field goals (prior to the three-point field goal) and 154 free throws for 1,312 points and an average of 15.8 points per game. He was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection. He was the SEC Freshman of the Year and as a junior was SEC Player of the Year.

While at Bama, he occasionally joined the baseball team to pitch, primarily in relief. In his one starting performance he pitched a one-hitter (an infield roller) and struck out 14.

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