New Documentary About Former Nowata Coach Premieres This Weekend

The documentary is called "Full Court Press: The Ken Zacher Story." It all centers around a high school basketball coach in Nowata and an incident that got media attention across the country.

Tuesday, October 10th 2023, 12:09 pm



There will be a special event this weekend for the premiere of a new documentary about a former basketball coach from Nowata.

The documentary is called "Full Court Press: The Ken Zacher Story."

Who is Ken Zacher?

It all centers around a high school basketball coach in Nowata and an incident that got media attention across the country. In 1972, the Nowata High School basketball team chose a black player to serve as homecoming king.

The decision led to racially charged outage in Nowata because the homecoming queen at the time was white. Producers of the documentary said Coach Zacher was asked by the school to choose a white player to escort the homecoming queen instead, and Coach Zacher refused.

Nowata Basketball Team - Ken Zacher

"When things started going sour, the abuse of the coach's daughter that went on, and people just being mean to the family; cutting their power off, breaking windows, burning crosses in their yard. Over the years, people said, 'Oh that never happened, people just made that up to make it more dramatic.' It all happened and we've got eyewitness accounts on everything in the documentary," said producer Dane Warner who is from Nowata.

That incident got widespread attention, including stories from the Associated Press and TV stations.

After homecoming, Coach Zacher was fired from his job and then moved to Kansas, where he died by suicide.

"I've gone back and interviewed a lot of his family who are still alive; sisters, ex-wife, and daughters, although they didn't want to talk about it for all these years, they've kind of buried it, which hurt them too. A lot of family suffered by not sharing what went on behind closed doors. Family members have decided, 'We need to tell the other side of the story.' And he did have mental illness. There were issues and so many people who wish they would have gotten him some help," said Warner.

When Will The Film Premiere?

The premiere of the documentary is Saturday, October 14 at Bartlesville Community Center.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and then there will be a panel discussion after the movie. Tickets are $25 and available at the box office.

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