2018 Notable Sports Deaths



May 23 — Laszlo Tabori, 86, third man to break the four-minute barrier in the mile and later coached distance runners. Tabori joined Roger Bannister and John Landy as the only men to break the four-minute barrier in 1955. That year, Tabori held the 1,500-meter world record with a time of 3:40.8. He was also a member of the world record-setting team in the 4X1500 relay. Tabori finished fourth in the 1,500 and sixth in the 5,000 at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. After the games, he and his coach Mihaly Igloi defected to the U.S. and returned to the sport as a coach in 1967. Tabori was a proponent of interval training and was the longtime coach of the San Fernando Valley Track Club. Tabori worked with USC’s men’s distance runners and the school’s running club team, notably coaching Duane Solomon to a berth in the 2012 London Olympics.

May 25 — Fred Kovaleski, 93, noted American tennis player in the 1950s who was secretly an officer with the CIA who used the sport as cover for espionage. In 1950, he lost in the final of the United States National Indoor Tennis Championships and reached the fourth round of Wimbledon. In 1951, while playing in Egypt, he met a U.S. embassy official who offered to direct him to a post-tennis career with the State Department. With tennis as his cover, he continued to play in tournaments. While competing at the National Tennis Championships in Forest Hills, Queens, in 1954, he was identified as a “tall, dark-haired Defense Department worker.” His time with the agency ended in 1957.

May 25 — Bill Mallory, 83, winningest football coach in Indiana history who also led three other schools to bowl games. Mallory went 69-77-3 and took Indiana to six bowls from 1984-96. In 1987, Mallory became the first to win the Big Ten’s coach of the year award in consecutive years. Mallory was 168-129-4 overall with stops at Miami (Ohio), his alma mater, Colorado and Northern Illinois.


May 28 — Dick Quax, 70, New Zealand Olympic 5,000-meter silver medalist. Regarded as one of his country’s greatest runners, Quax won a silver medal in the 5,000 meters at the 1976 Olympics. In 1977 he set a then-world record for the distance at 13 minutes, 12.9 seconds in Stockholm.

May 29 — Cliff Tucker, 29, former Maryland basketball player. Tucker was from El Paso and played four years at Maryland, finishing in 2011. He was one of the school’s top 3-point shooters. He played on NCAA Tournament teams in 2009 and 2010.

May 29 — Dan Kneen, 30, motorcycle racer was killed during qualifying for the Isle of Man TT, an event consisting of several races held on public roads on the independent British island in the Irish Sea.

May 30 — Henry Bock, 81, pioneering doctor in racing and a key player in creating the SAFER barrier. Bock served as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s senior director of medical services from 1982-2006. He held the same title with the IndyCar Series from 1996-2006. Though he developed new treatments for drivers, Bock may be best known for working on the SAFER barriers that have become a staple at American tracks.

June 1 — Charles Williams, 52, former pro wrestler. Williams wrestled as the “Rockin’ Rebel” for Extreme Championship Wrestling and at independent matches.

June 2 — Bruce Kison, 68, pitcher who helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series in 1971 and 1979 and spent three decades in player development and scouting roles. Kison went 115-88 with a 3.66 ERA for the Pirates (1971-79), California Angels (1980-84) and Boston (1985).

June 4 — Adam Lyon, 26, superbike rider was killed in an incident during the Supersport 1 Isle of Man TT race.

June 4 — Dwight Clark, 61, former 49ers wide receiver whose reception known as “The Catch” sent San Francisco to its first Super Bowl. Clark won two Super Bowls with the 49ers during a nine-year career that ended in 1987. He memorably pulled down the winning touchdown pass from Joe Montana in the 1981 NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. Clark made two Pro Bowls and catching 506 passes for 6,750 yards and 48 touchdowns.

June 4 — C.M. Newton, 88, Hall of Fame coach and administrator. Newton was a member of Kentucky’s 1951 NCAA championship squad during a basketball career spanning more than 50 years as a player, coach and administrator. He also influenced selection of the original U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” in 1992. Newton was 509-375 as a coach at Transylvania College, Alabama and Vanderbilt.

June 7 — Red Schoendienst, 95, Hall of Fame second baseman who managed St. Louis to two pennants and a World Series championship in the 1960s. Alfred Fred Schoendienst wore the Cardinals uniform for 45 seasons as a player, coach and manager. Schoendienst finished his career with a .289 batting average, 2,449 hits, 427 doubles, 1,223 runs and a .983 fielding percentage. He ranks second in Cardinals history with 1,041 wins as a manager.

June 8 — Maria Bueno, 78, Brazilian tennis great. Bueno won three Wimbledon singles titles and four at the U.S. Open in the 1950s and 1960s. Nicknamed “The Tennis Ballerina” because of her graceful style, Bueno won 19 Grand Slam titles overall, seven in singles, 11 in doubles and one in mixed doubles, between 1959 and 1966.

June 9 — Fadil Vokrri, 57, president of the Football Federation of Kosovo and a former Yugoslavia international. Vokrri became the first post-independence president of the Kosovo federation in 2008, and was re-elected twice. He led Kosovo to membership of UEFA and FIFA. Vokrri played for Yugoslavia from 1984-87 and was voted Yugoslavia’s best player in 1987.

June 9 — Kenyatta Jones, 39, former NFL offensive lineman. Jones was a fourth-round selection by the New England Patriots in 2001. He started 11 games at right tackle the following season. He played three games for the Washington Redskins in 2004.

June 9 — Johnny McKenzie, 80, rough-and-tumble right wing who helped lead the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cup titles. McKenzie also played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. But he was mostly known for his time with the Bruins from 1965 to 1972 when he was a key part of teams that won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972.

June 8 — Jordan Scott, 31, all-time leading rusher in Colgate history. Scott rushed for 5,621 yards on 1,240 attempts, averaging 4.5 yards per carry over four seasons before graduating in 2009. He also scored 57 rushing touchdowns and held the Patriot League rushing record until last season.

June 11 — Andreas Perez, 14, Spanish motorbike rider died from injuries sustained while competing in a Moto3 junior world championship race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 10.

June 12 — Keith Fahnhorst, 66, star tackle for the San Francisco 49ers who won two Super Bowl titles in the 1980s. Fahnhorst won two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the franchise and was an All-Pro in 1984. He started 160 of the 193 games in which he appeared from 1974-87.

June 13 — Jordan McNair, 19, University of Maryland football player died after being hospitalized after an organized team workout on May 29. McNair was a 6-foot-4, 325-pound offensive lineman preparing for his sophomore season.

June 14 — Anne Donovan, 56, Basketball Hall of Famer who won a national championship at Old Dominion, two Olympic gold medals in the 1980s and coached the U.S. to gold in 2008. The 6-foot-8 center coached both in college and the WNBA. She became the first female coach and the youngest person (42) to win a title in the WNBA, guiding the Seattle Storm to a championship in 2004. She also coached the Indiana, Charlotte, New York and Connecticut.

June 14 — Sonia Scurfield, 89, former Calgary Flames owner and only Canadian woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Born Sonia Onishenko in 1928, she married Ralph Scurfield in 1954. They brought the Flames to Calgary from Atlanta in 1980. She took over the club after he died in 1985. The Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989 and Sonia Scurfield’s name was added to hockey’s famed trophy. Scurfield gave up her ownership share in 1994.

June 17 — Dutch Rennert, 88, National League umpire from 1973 to 1992 who was known for his animated, booming strike calls. Laurence “Dutch” Rennert Jr. was a longtime minor league umpire before his promotion to the National League in 1973. He worked 2,693 regular-season games plus six NL Championship Series, three World Series, in 1980, ’83 and ’89, and two All-Star Games.

June 18 — Walter Bahr, 91, last living member of the U.S. soccer team that upset England at the 1950 World Cup. Bahr collected a throw-in from Ed McIlvenny on June 29, 1950, at Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and took a shot from about 25 yards that Joe Gaetjens deflected past goalkeeper Bert Williams with a diving header late in the first half. The U.S. held on for a 1-0 win. Sons Chris and Matt Bahr both became NFL placekickers.

June 18 — Billy Connors, 76, three-time New York Yankees pitching coach and confidant of late owner George Steinbrenner. Connors coached the Yankees from 1989-90, 1994-95 and 2000, and was vice president of player personnel from 1996-2012. Connors also coached with the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals and Seattle.

June 18 — Rachelle Jones, 51, veteran women’s college basketball official.

June 19 — Hubert Green, 71, Hall of Fame golfer who won two majors. Green won the 1977 U.S. Open and the 1985 PGA Championship in a career that included 19 PGA Tour victories and four on the seniors circuit.

June 20 — Ed Croke, 86, New York Giants’ former public relations director. Croke joined the Giants in 1965 as director of promotions and was public relations from 1972 until retiring in 1993.

June 20 — John Ward, 88, radio voice of Tennessee football and men’s basketball for over three decades. Ward became Tennessee’s radio play-by-play voice for men’s basketball in 1965 and started filling the same role for football three years later. He retired after the 1998-99 school year. He started every game by saying “It’s Football Time In Tennessee” and would say “Give Him Six” after Tennessee touchdowns.

June 20 — Peter Thomson, 88, first Australian to win the British Open and the only player in the 20th century to win that major in three consecutive years. Thomson won the event five times from 1954 to 1956 and in 1958 and 1965.

June 24 — Jason Johnson, 41, World of Outlaws sprint car series driver died following a June 23 crash at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin.

June 25 — Abdel-Rahim Mohamed, Egyptian sports analyst died after having a heart attack while watching a broadcast of Egypt’s 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in the World Cup. Mohamed had the heart attack when the Saudis scored their injury-time winner. The former Zamalek coach had been scheduled to give analysis after the match for Egypt’s state TV.

June 26 — Phil Rodgers, 80, five-time winner on the PGA Tour who became one of golf’s top instructors. Rodgers won all five of his PGA Tour events in his 20s. Rodgers played his last full season in 1977, and then became an instructor and was listed annually in golf magazines as among the best in the country. Jack Nicklaus gave Rodgers credit for his U.S. Open and PGA Championship victories in 1980.

June 28 — Goran Bunjevcevic, 45, Serbia soccer official and a former Red Star Belgrade captain and Tottenham defender. Bunjevcevic started his playing career in the former Yugoslavia and joined Red Star Belgrade in the late 1990s, winning two league titles and two cups. He was at Tottenham from 2001-06. Benjevcevic represented the former Yugoslavia 16 times until 2003.

June 28 — Irena Szewinska, 72, Polish sprinter who dominated women’s athletics for two decades, winning seven Olympic medals. She was described as the most famous athlete in Polish sports history. Szewinska competed in five Olympics, winning gold medals in the 400-meter relay in 1964, in the 200 meters in 1968 and the 400 meters in 1976. She was a 10-time world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races.

July 1 — Larry Cotlar, 66, longtime Iowa sportscaster Cotlar had worked as the voice of Drake University’s teams since 2005.

July 2 — Jim O’Connell, 64, longtime college basketball writer for The Associated Press and a member of the Hall of Fame. Known to nearly everyone as Oc (ock), O’Connell was a former president of the United States Basketball Writers Association. He entered that organization’s Hall of Fame in 2002, the same year he earned the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award for his coverage of the sport. O’Connell served as the AP’s national college hoops writer since 1987 and was a fixture at major events from the Final Four to the Big East Tournament to the Maui Invitational.

July 5 — Eli Stickley, 21, University of Wisconsin wrestler. Eli Stickley, who wrestled in the 141-pound weight class, joined the Badgers in 2015 and had a 21-14 record last season. He was an Ohio Division II state champion at 120 pounds in 2014 with a 50-3 record.

July 6 — Tyler Honeycutt, 27, former Sacramento Kings and UCLA basketball player. Honeycutt played two seasons at UCLA, averaging 10.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, before getting drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft. He played 24 games in two seasons (2011-13) with the Kings before taking his career overseas.

July 6 — Clifford Rozier, 45, former NBA player. Rozier was the 16th overall pick of the 1994 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. He played four seasons with the Warriors, the Toronto Raptors and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rozier played college ball at North Carolina and Louisville.


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