Born: March 17, 1960 Primary Instrument: Guitar
A pupil of a pupil of the great George Benson, and native of Pittsburgh Pa., Eric’s brother, Kennard, taught him guitar basics at the age of 10. “George Benson was Ken’s first teacher….. they were childhood friends, along with another guitar great from Pittsburgh; Jimmy Ponder. Even though I was more interested in sports as a kid, I’ve always around music, and musicians, thanks to Ken”. I can remember at one point, Phyliss Hyman was the lead singer in his band”. At the age of 12, Eric moved to Detroit where he continued to excelled in sports: track, baseball, football, and basketball, which became his main sport. Eric was a two-time first team All-City performer and All-American in basketball at Cass Tech High in Detroit, where he was also rated the top point guard in the state of Michigan, a position held by Magic Johnson the previous year. However, too much basketball and not enough studying in his senior year forced Eric to turn down scholarship offers from many of the largest universities in the country. From Cass Tech he went to Schoolcraft College in Livonia Michigan, where he redeemed himself academically, won the state championship and earned a scholarship to Weber State College in Ogden Utah. There he played for the 14th rated team in the nation. Feeling that he had a chance, personnel wise, to win a national championship, Eric transferred back to Eastern Michigan University where he became team captain for the first EMU team to ever beat the University of Michigan. Unfortunately things didn't pan out for the team at EMU, denying Eric the opportunity of making it to the next level (the NBA). Once gone from EMU, and feeling that management would be similar to coaching, Eric managed a series of restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery stores. During this time he was also an assistant coach to Byron Skip Willis for the state champion Highland Park Community College basketball team. He later became an assistant coach of the defending world champion Detroit Doggs of the ABA, which had been headed by George Iceman Gervin, and assisted by Skip Willis the previous year. However, the team folded the next year. While managing a major cellphone company store, he was held up in a robbery. The trauma from that experience had him out of work for a year, during which his place of employment fired him while he was still out on medical leave. During this time, Eric became the head coach for Detroit's new ABA team the Motown Jammers, where he coached the likes of Jimmy King of the U of M's Fab 5, 7'3 Keith Closs formerly of the NBA LA Clippers, and high scoring Willie Burton formerly of the NBA Atlanta Hawks. Unfortunately the team folded after just a few games. Eric was forced to pick up his guitar (the thing that he loved to do most anyway).