NEWTON, Kan. – Former University of Colorado basketball great Leason Horton "Pete" McCloud died earlier this week (Monday, June 17) at the Newton Medical Center. He was 94.
Born Dec. 29, 1918, to Sidney and Elizabeth McCloud in Neosho, Mo., McCloud was number six of eight boys.
Known for his silky-smooth shot, a great passer and rebounder, McCloud is one of CU men’s basketball’s eight all-Americans (1942). He played from 1939-42 under head coach Forrest “Frosty” Cox.
The leading scorer for the 1941-42 Big Seven Champion Buffaloes team, McCloud was Coach Cox’s “go to guy.” McCloud’s play caught the attention of national media and he joined fellow Buff Bob Doll on the Look, Pic and Time magazines’ All-America squads, and was a unanimous All-Big Seven selection. Both men also grew up in Newton, Kan.
On November 9, 2011, McCloud was named a University of Colorado Living Legend at the Court Sport Preview Celebration on the court of the George Boedecker Jr. Gym that included CU President Bruce Benson, Chancellor Phil DiStefano, former Athletic Director Mike Bohn, a number of regents, and special honorees Martin Trotsky and Bob Kirchner, a pair of early 1940s CU hoops standouts.
CU also honored the 1938-1942 Colorado basketball teams. McCloud received a plaque with his name on it with a large “C” in the center, stating that he was a “living legend” in Colorado Basketball. This was resolved by the University of Colorado Board of Regents on Nov. 9, 2011.
In 2012, he was also inducted as a Living Legend in the Kansas High School Hall of Fame.
The McCloud family moved to Newton in 1927, where he graduated from Newton High School. It was in high school that McCloud found his fame. During his freshman year, he was selected to the all-state basketball team and was inducted into the Newton High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.
McCloud served in the Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946 during World War II and trained cadets and played basketball for the Air Force. From 1947 to 1948, he played basketball for the Industrial League with the Continental Airlines team. In 1948, he played for a professional basketball team, the St. Joe Outlaws. Upon the end of the season, the league became the NBA.
On July 4, 1942, McCloud married his high school sweetheart, Martha Schroeder and were married for 69 years. They adopted three children: Joan, Michael and Timothy.
McCloud worked for Continental Airlines from 1949 until his retirement in 1978. He started as general manager and later became manager of customer, cargo and personnel. His retirement was filled with woodworking, fishing, gardening and enjoying family.
The greatest joy of McCloud’s life was accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and continued until the end sharing God's Word with others.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Sidney and Elizabeth; wife, Martha; son, Timothy; and brothers, Harry, Elmer, Robert, Leslie, Wesley, Bill and Fred.
He is survived by daughter, Joan McCloud of Kansasville, Wis.; son, Michael (Cecilia) McCloud of Aplington, Iowa; grandsons, Timothy (Renee) McCloud and Peter (April) McCloud of Polk City, Iowa; granddaughters, Hannah (Lee) Pothoven, Ames, Iowa, and Jennifer (Noah) Johnson of Chandler, Ariz.; 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild; sister-in-law, Esther (Bill) McCloud; nieces and nephews, Arnie (Joyce) McCloud, Terry (Darla) McCloud, Jan McCloud, Nancy (Rich) Parsons, all of Newton; and many great-nieces and nephews.
Funeral services took place Thursday morning (June 20) at First Baptist Church. Interment will be in the Greenwood Cemetery.
A memorial has been established with the Newton High School Athletics Dept.; contributions may be sent to Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, 120 E. Broadway, Newton, KS 67114. Condolences may be left at www.broadwaycolonialfh.com.
Arrangements are by Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, Newton.
The Broadway Colonial Funeral Home Contributed Information to this release.
June 9, 2012: Ryan Thorburn, Boulder Daily Camera Article
Nov. 5, 2012: Anthony Lepine, CU Student Assistant SID Article
Leason "Pete" McCloud CU Career (in bullet points)
1939-40 (sophomore year, wore #8): 17-4 (11-1 Mountain States Conference)
• Won the NIT Championship (defeating Duquesne, 51-40 in New York City, also beat DePaul, 52-37 in the semifinals.
• Advanced to the NCAA Tournament (Western Division) in Kansas City losing both games (Southern California, 38-32 & Rice, 60-56 ot) finishing fourth overall.
• At the time, CU was the first school in the nation to play in both post-season tournaments (now 12 schools have achieved the feat).
• Third-straight Mountain States Conference title.
• According to the 1940 Coloradan, CU was the No. 1 ranked team in the nation after winning the NIT title.
• The bio page in the official Madison Square Garden program featured a photo George Hamburg, Bob Doll and Leason McCloud. McCloud’s bio said he was affectionately dubbed by teammates as the “Great America Eagle of the Hardwood,” this due primarily to the length of his nose. Can jump like a kangaroo.
• 8-0 home record, and a mid-season 12-game winning streak.
1940-41 (junior year, wore #3): 10-6 (7-5 Mountain States Conference, third place)
• Co-Captain with George Hamburg of a team comprised of four juniors and seven sophomores.
• Scored 225 points becoming one of the region’s best scorers.
• Finished in third place in the conference with one starter and one letterwinner returning from a year ago.
• Named the conference’s most outstanding player; was the conference’s scoring champion.
• Also named an All-Mountain States Conference selection along with Hamburg.
• 7-1 home record.
1941-42 (senior year, wore #3): 16-2 (11-1 Mountain States Conference)
• Advanced to the NCAA Tournament where CU defeated Kansas, 46-44, then lost to Stanford, 46-35.
• McCloud scored 19 points in the win over Kansas.
• Named All-American; at the time, it was CU’s fifth All-American award nomination; McCloud and Robert Doll were the third and fourth players, respectively to be named an All-American at CU.
• Leading scorer for the 1941-42 Big Seven Championship team.
• Joined fellow Buff Bob Doll on the Look, Pic and Time magazines’ All- America squads and was a unanimous All-Big Seven selection.
• Member of three conference titles in a four-year span; CU captured their fourth Mountain States Conference title in five years.
• CU was the No. 1 ranked team in the nation (Feb. 1942) and the top-ranked team in the Mountain/Pacific states (region).
• CU’s second appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
• 6-0 at home record; 14-game winning streak during the season.
• 43-12 record in three years, second-best at that time for wins in a three-year span.
• 21-1 home record, fourth most wins in a three-year span at that time.
• 9-1 road record; nine road wins are the most for a season still to this day in school history.