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2014 Notable Sports Deaths

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 23, 2014 at 4:10 p.m.



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May 26 — Dick Grimm, 91, golf executive. Between 1965 and 1981, Grimm was chairman of the Canadian Open eight times. In 1983, he became director of professional tournaments for the Royal Canadian Golf Association, now Golf Canada. He held that position until 1993 when he became the Canadian Tour's commissioner.

May 28 — Malcolm Glazer, 85, the self-made billionaire who owned the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and English soccer's Manchester United. Glazer helped transform the Bucs from a laughingstock into a model franchise that in 2003 won the Super Bowl 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders. He raised his profile with a $1.47 billion takeover of Manchester United that was bitterly opposed by fans of one of the world's richest soccer clubs in 2005.

May 28 — Bob Houbregs, 82, Hall of Fame basketball player who starred at Washington. The 6-foot-7 Canadian star led Washington to its only Final Four appearance in 1953. Houbregs was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1953 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Hawks and played for three other teams during his five-year career. Houbregs also served as general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics in the early years of the franchise.

May 31 — Lewis Katz, 72, former owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and NHL's New Jersey Devils. Katz worked as a lawyer before earning hundreds of millions of dollars investing in the Kinney Parking empire and the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network in New York.

June 4 — Don Zimmer, 83, a popular fixture in professional baseball for 66 years as a manager, player, coach and executive. Zimmer was still working for the Tampa Bay Rays as a senior adviser. Zimmer started as a minor league infielder in 1949. He played for the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win the World Series, played for the original New York Mets, nearly managed the Boston Red Sox to a championship in the 1970s and was Joe Torre's right-hand man with the New York Yankees' most recent dynasty.

June 5 — John Bishop, 87, co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association. Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with wife Peggy and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. With France's financial assistance, Bishop, an experienced official with the Sports Car Club of America, and his wife built IMSA into a premier sports car organization that peaked in the 1980s and 1990s with the Camel-sponsored GT Series. Bishop sold IMSA in 1989.

June 9 — Junie Donlavey, 90, former NASCAR car owner. Sixty different drivers drove for Donlavey before he closed his shop in 2005. He had more than 860 starts as a car owner during his 50-plus years in the sport. Bill Dennis, Jody Ridley and Ken Schrader won NASCAR Cup series rookie of the year honors for Donlavey. Ridley recorded Donlavey's only Cup win in a 1981 race in Dover, Delaware.

June 9 — Bob Welch, 57, the 1990 AL Cy Young Award winner of the Oakland Athletics and the last major leaguer to win at least 25 games in a season. Welch was a prominent member of the Oakland teams that won three straight AL championships from 1988-90, including the 1989 club that swept the San Francisco Giants in the earthquake-interrupted World Series. He won the Cy Young Award after going 27-6 with a 2.95 ERA. Welch finished 211-146 with 3.47 ERA in 17 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1978-87) and Athletics (1988-94).

June 13 — Chuck Noll, 82, Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Noll transformed the Steelers from a long-standing joke into one of the NFL's pre-eminent powers, becoming the only coach to win four Super Bowls. The Steelers won the four Super Bowls over six seasons (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979), an unprecedented run.

June 13 — Gyula Grosics, 88, goalkeeper of Hungary's Golden Team of the 1950s. He played 86 times for Hungary from 1947 to 1962, including in the famous 6-3 victory over England at Wembley Stadium in 1953 — the host team's first home loss to a non-British opponent. A few months later, Hungary beat England 7-1 in Budapest. Grosics played in the 1954, 1958 and 1962 World Cups and won a gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki.

June 14 — Rodney Thomas, 41, former running back for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons during a seven-year NFL career.

June 14 — Benjamin Winter, 25, German horse rider who was killed in a fall during an equestrian eventing competition at a cross-country event. Winter from Dortmund received serious head injuries after falling from his horse Ispo at an obstacle on the 6,500-meter course.

June 15 — Ray Fox, 98, NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee who was a premier engine builder and top mechanic in the 1950s and '60s. Among the drivers Fox fielded cars for were Junior Johnson, David Pearson and Buck Baker.

June 16 — Tony Gwynn, 54, Hall of Fame outfielder who spent his entire 20-year career with the San Diego Padres and was one of the game's greatest hitters. Gwynn, a craftsman at the plate and winner of eight batting titles, was nicknamed "Mr. Padre." He had 3,141 hits and a career .338 average.

June 17 — Richard Durrett, 38, veteran reporter who covered Dallas-area sports for ESPN.

June 20 — Bob McNamara, 82, All-American football player for Minnesota in the 1950s. McNamara played for the Gophers from 1951-54. He was an All-American running back and the team MVP in 1954.

June 24 — David Taylor, 60, former UEFA general secretary. For two years until 2009, Taylor was UEFA general secretary under President Michel Platini. Taylor joined UEFA after serving eight years as Scottish football's chief executive. He was key to a Scottish and Irish proposal to expand the European Championship from 16 teams to 24.

June 28 — Jim Brosnan, 84, former major league pitcher who helped the Cincinnati Reds reach the 1961 World Series. Brosnan played nine seasons in the majors, going 55-47 with 67 saves for the Reds, Cubs, Cardinals and White Sox.

June 29 — Philip Lutzenkirchen, 23, former Auburn tight end. Lutzenkirchen set school records for a tight end with 14 career touchdown catches and seven during the 2011 season. He scored the winning touchdown against Alabama to preserve the national title run in 2010, performing an end zone dance later nicknamed "The Lutzie."

June 29 — Rae Rippetoe-Blair, 52, former UT-San Antonio women's basketball coach who set a school record for career wins. Rippetoe-Blair coached the Roadrunners to a 216-173 record in 13 seasons, leading them to the NCAA tournament in 2008 and 2009.

June 30 — Frank Cashen, 88, the general manager who wore a signature bow tie and fashioned a New York Mets team that rollicked its way to the 1986 World Series championship. Cashen was a longtime sports writer in his Baltimore hometown before joining the Orioles and eventually becoming their GM. The Orioles won two titles while Cashen worked for them.

June 30 — Bobby Castillo, 59, former Dodgers and Minnesota Twins pitcher credited with teaching Fernando Valenzuela how to throw a screwball. Castillo pitched for Los Angeles from 1977-81 and was with the Twins from 1982 to 1984.

June 30 — Ed Messbarger, 81, winner of 630 games in a 41-year college coaching career spent mostly at St. Mary's and Angelo State in Texas.

July 2 — Samuel Henry "Errie" Ball, 103, a PGA of America member for a record 83 years. Ball was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in 2011. Ball played in the first Augusta National Invitation Tournament in 1934, which later became the Masters.

July 3 — Louis Zamperini, 97, Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps. A high school and University of Southern California track star, Zamperini — known as the "Torrance Tornado" — competed in the 5,000-meter run at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He finished eighth but caught attention by running the final lap in 56 seconds.

July 7 — Alfredo Di Stefano, 88, the Real Madrid player hailed as the most important component in the team's mid-20th century ascent to becoming a global football powerhouse. He helped Madrid attain five straight European Champions Cups and was voted European player of the year in 1957 and '59.

July 7 — Tom Veryzer, 61, former major league baseball player. Veryzer played a dozen years in the major leagues and was Detroit's shortstop before Alan Trammell took over in the late 1970s. Veryzer also played for Cleveland, the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs.

July 10 — Bruce Saurs, 88, Peoria Rivermen hockey team co-owner. Saurs was credited with helping keep hockey alive in Peoria for more than two decades.

July, 11 — Ron Oestrike, 82, most successful baseball coach at Eastern Michigan. Oestrike coached for 23 seasons and had a record of 657-508-8. His last season was 1987. Oestrike's 1976 team played in the College World Series, finishing second to national champion Arizona. Nine of his players made it to Major League Baseball.

July 12 — Louis "Red" Klotz, 93, basketball barnstormer who owned the Washington Generals and other teams that lost thousands of games to the Harlem Globetrotters. Klotz formed a working relationship with the Globetrotters in 1952, putting together the opposing teams that almost always lost.

July 12 — Ken Netherland, 74, winningest high school football coach in Tennessee history. Netherland had a career mark of 368-131-3. He spent his career in the Memphis area, where he coached at Hillcrest, Germantown, St. George's and Lausanne. He won state titles at Germantown in 1983 and at St. George's in 2007.

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