Charles "Cotton" Nash
Friday 24th of July 1942 - Tuesday 23rd of May 2023
Milward - Southland
391 Southland Dr., Lexington, KY
Mass of Christian Burial
Cathedral of Christ the King
299 Colony Blvd., Lexington, KY
Charles “Cotton” Nash, a longtime Lexingtonian, devoted family man and beloved Kentucky sports figure, passed away following an extended illness. His death has prompted a national outpouring of tributes to his athletic abilities, personal character, and impact on the basketball program at the University of Kentucky where he played for Adolph Rupp from 1961-1964. To this day he remains on the UK top ten all-time list for rebounds and scoring. Notably, there was no three-point shot line during his collegiate career. While at UK he also excelled in the baseball program and even in track & field.
Born in Jersey City, NJ, with striking white-blonde hair, Cotton was the son of Frank and Nell Nash, with one sister, Francene, who has predeceased him. His youth included residing in New Albany, IN and Lake Charles, LA where his accomplishments led him to be a sought after collegiate player. After college he became one of only 13 ever to play in both Major League Baseball and in the NBA (as well as the ABA): baseball with the White Sox and Twins; and basketball for the Lakers, Warriors, and the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA. He later coached professionally in the Angels organization before settling in Lexington. In 1993, he was inducted into both the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. In recent years Cotton and his wife, Julie, established a successful venture into Standardbred Horse Racing and Breeding and in 2010 received the National Breeders Award for horse of the year, Rock N Roll Heaven.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Julie, 3 children, Patrick (Christy), Richey (Ashley) and Audrey (Jason) Lowrey and 9 grandchildren: Nick, Alex, Casey, Catey, Jack, Lucy, and Hazel Mae Nash, Vivian and Josephine Lowrey. He was often seen in the outfield or courtside at his grandchildren’s sporting events. He loved coaching them to victory, encouraging them in defeat, and celebrating their accomplishments. He was a devout Catholic and member of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Lexington.
Visitation will take place on Fri., May 26, 2023, 4-7 pm, Milward-Southland and a Funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Sat., May 27, 2023, at 10 am. Burial will follow at the Calvary Cemetery. Favored charities are the Catholic Action Center, 1055 Industry Rd., Lexington, KY 40505 and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 2711 Friar Tuck Rd., Anderson, IN 46013.
Sandra Hermann Johnsonsays
From Lake Charles, Louisiana: So very sorry to hear of Cotton’s passing. The Nashes were neighbors of ours, and Cotton as well as Francine attended LCHS with me. Francine and I were very good friends and spent a lot of time together. I will always have such fond memories of the wonderful Nash family. All prayers for Cotton!! RIP! 🙏
Julie, We are sorry to hear of Cotton’s passing. As a teammate with Cotton it was so much fun to play along side of him. He was such a great athlete that Cotton made all of us players better. Such great and cherished memories. Love, Carroll (Burch) and Carolyn
Dear Julie, Bill and I fondly remember a lovely visit with you and Cotton one evening when we came to Lexington . I didn't know Cotton well, but I know that you two were truly fortunate to have each other in your lives for many years and that you will always cherish memories of your time together. Hugs, Peggy
Rush "Speedy" Mathewssays
Julie, So sorry to learn of Cotton's passing. Wanted you to know I am thinking about you. I have told Peggy. My prayers are with you, Speedy Mathews
Steve and I were sad to hear of the passing of Cotton. What a special person he was! Our thoughts are with you and all the family, Julie. May you find comfort and rest to help you at this difficult time. I have always respected Cotton’s contributions as an athlete, a horseman and as a man devoted to his family.
Clifford and Alice Hollidaysays
Oh, Cotton. I remember you from when you first came to UK as the most sought after recruit in the country. You certainly lived up to expectations and much more. Obviously, one of the best to ever play for the Big Blue. However, much more importantly you never let all that notoriety turn your head. You handled it with dignity and grace the way you played sports You were just ‘Cotton’ to all who knew you. My condolences to Julie and the family. The world will surely be poorer without Cotton!