Herb Lyon entered Penn in 1945 on an academic scholarship and was recruited to play football, his first sport of choice out of high school. Although he toughed out his freshman season on the gridiron, it was on the Palestra hardwood where he made his mark.
His freshman year, Herb earned the basketball team’s Arthur Kiefaber Award as most valuable player. Drafted into the Army in 1946, Herb served as a first lieutenant in an armored division. He returned to Penn and ended up playing three more years of varsity basketball, including the 1948-49 season when he was a captain. In each of those years, he again won the Kiefaber, making him one of just two players in the program’s illustrious history to win the team MVP award four times.
Herb set Penn’s single-season scoring record in each of his last three seasons wearing the Red and Blue, with 344 points in 1947-48, 395 in 1948-49, and then 421 in 1949-50. Not surprisingly, when he graduated he was the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,333 points (by comparison, the previous mark was below 1,000 points). That total remains 12th on the program’s all-time list -- astounding, given the caliber of the program, and the inclusion of the shot clock and three-point shot more than 20 years ago.
Herb made the Eastern Intercollegiate League’s First Squad in 1949 and 1950 -- the EIL was the precursor to the Ivy League -- and was also a three-time member of the Philadelphia Basketball Writers’ Association’s “All-City Team.” Following his collegiate career, Herb played semi-professional basketball for two years while starting his business career.
Tragically, Herb passed away at the young age of 39.