2018 Notable Sports Deaths

UNDATED: 16 and 20.


April 8 — Michael Goolaerts, 23, Belgian rider died of cardiac arrest after collapsing while competing in the Paris-Roubaix race. Goolaerts, who rode in support of cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert of Belgium, collapsed 93 miles from the finish. His most significant result this season was 20th at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

April 11 — Dayna Brons, 25, athletic therapist of the Humboldt Broncos, became the 16th person to die as a result of the crash on April 6.

April 11 — Patrick F. McManus, 84, prolific writer best known for his humor columns in fishing and hunting magazines who also wrote mystery novels and one-man comedy plays. He wrote monthly humor columns for more than three decades for the popular magazines Field & Stream and Outdoor Life.


April 13 — Bill Nack, 77, renowned sports journalist and author. Nack was a seven-time media Eclipse Award winner. He was best known for his coverage of Secretariat. His acclaimed biography on “Big Red” is considered the definitive account chronicling the history of the Meadow Stable colt and his ascent to the 1973 Triple Crown. That book was used as the inspiration for the 2010 Disney movie “Secretariat.” Nack joined Sports Illustrated in 1978 and worked there through 2001.

April 14 — Hal Greer, 81, Hall of Fame guard and the Philadelphia 76ers’ career leading scorer. Greer spent 15 seasons with the Syracuse Nationals and Philadelphia 76ers and finished his career with a record 21,586 points. Greer made 10 straight All-Star games and earned a spot on the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.

April 14 — Daedra Charles-Furlow, 49, Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer who played on Tennessee’s 1989 and 1991 national championship teams. Charles-Furlow was known as Daedra Charles when she played for Tennessee from 1988-91. She played on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team that earned the bronze medal.

April 16 — Vic Bubas, 91, former Duke coach who led the Blue Devils to three Final Fours in 10 seasons. Bubas went 213-67 with the Blue Devils from 1959-69. He won four Atlantic Coast Conference titles and led Duke to Final Fours in 1963, 1964 and 1966. He played on North Carolina State’s Final Four team in 1950 and served as commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference for 14 years.

April 17 — John Amirante, 83, longtime New York Rangers anthem singer. The Bronx-born Amirante sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Rangers games at Madison Square Garden from 1980 until he retired in 2015.

April 18 — Bruno Sammartino, 82, professional wrestling Hall of Famer. Sammartino was one of the biggest wrestling stars of the 1960s and 1970s and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.

April 18 — Andy Rihs, 75, Swiss businessman who owned the BMC Racing cycling team and Young Boys soccer club. As BMC owner, Rihs secured a Tour de France title five years after his previous team was involved in a doping scandal. Cadel Evans of Australia led BMC to victory in the 2011 Tour. In 2006, the Rihs-backed Phonak team disbanded after American rider Floyd Landis was stripped of the Tour title.

April 19 — Gil Santos, 78, New England Patriots’ longtime radio voice. Santos called 743 games in 36 seasons, and also did many Boston College football games. He retired in 2009 after 38 years.

April 20 — Earle Bruce, 87, former Ohio State football coach, who followed his mentor Woody Hayes. Bruce coached Tampa, Iowa State, the Buckeyes, Northern Iowa and Colorado State and finished with a 154-90-2 career record. Bruce had a record of 81-26-1 from 1979-87.

April 20 — Abel Mwakilama, 18, Sporting Clube de Esmoriz forward died of celebral malaria. Mwakilama moved to Portugal in January to play for Clube de Esmoriz. He recently played for the Malawi Under 20 national team against Swaziland in the 2019 African Cup of Nations Youth Championship qualifier. Whilst in Portugal, he scored 12 goals from 12 appearances for his club.

April 21 — Dee Hardison, 61, former North Carolina defensive tackle who was named to The Associated Press all-America first team in 1977. Hardison was a second-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1978 and played there for three seasons. He spent five seasons with the New York Giants, two with the San Diego Chargers and a year with the Kansas City Chiefs before retiring after the 1989 season.

April 22 — Ken Hofmann, 95, former Oakland Athletics owner. Hofmann and Steve Schott bought the A’s in late 1995 and they owned the franchise for 10 years. Oakland won the AL West in 2000, ’02 and ’03 during their ownership tenure.

April 23 — Sachio Kinugasa, 71, former Japanese baseball player. Nicknamed “Iron Man,” Kinugasa played in 2,215 consecutive games a Japanese record. He played for the Hiroshima Carp from 1965 to 1987 and was the Central League’s 1984 MVP. He is tied for fifth in hits in Nippon Professional Baseball history with 2,543, sixth in runs with 1,372, and tied for seventh with 504 home runs.

April 23 — Davey Nelson, 73, Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster and former All-Star infielder who also coached in the majors. Nelson played in the majors from 1968-77 as an infielder with the Indians, Senators, Rangers and Royals. Nelson had coaching stints with the Brewers, White Sox, Athletics, Indians and the Montreal Expos.

April 23 — Bennie Cunningham, 63, versatile tight end who starred at Clemson and won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cunningham played 10 seasons and caught more than 200 passes with the Steelers. Cunningham was an All-American in the mid-1970s.

April 24 — Henri Michel, 70, accomplished midfielder who and later coached France to the semifinals at the 1986 World Cup. Michel played almost his entire career at Nantes and helped the club win three French league titles. He played 58 times for France, including two games at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. In 1986, Michel coached the France team to the semifinals in Mexico. He later coached several African national teams, including Ivory Coast at the 2006 World Cup.

April 28 — James Hylton,83, former NASCAR driver and 1966 Rookie of the Year. Hylton started 602 races in the Cup Series and won two races in a career that began in 1964. He finished second in the points standings three times. In all, Hylton racked up 140 top-five finishes and 301 top-10s in the Cup series.

April 30 — Carlos Gray, 25, former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman. Gray played at North Carolina State and signed with the Packers as a free agent in 2014.

May 2 — Bill Torrey, 83, Hockey Hall of Famer who was the general manager of the New York Islanders when they won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the 1980s. He was the first employee in Islanders history when the franchise was born in 1972. Torrey then became Florida’s first president in 1993. Florida reached the Stanley Cup final in 1996 under Torrey.

May 2 — Dennis Claridge, 76, quarterback who helped coach Bob Devaney turn a moribund Nebraska program into a national power. Claridge led the Cornhuskers to records of 9-2 in 1962 and 10-1 in 1963, Devaney’s first two years in Lincoln. Claridge joined the Green Bay Packers in 1964 and was a backup on the 1965 NFL championship team.

May 2 — Dick Edell, 74, Hall of Fame lacrosse coach. Edell guided Maryland for 18 of his 29 seasons as a college coach. Edell compiled a record of 282-123 in stints with the University of Baltimore, Army and Maryland. His 17 NCAA Tournament appearances ranked second behind the 18 of Roy Simmons Jr. of Syracuse.

May 3 — Bob Prewitt, 93, former SMU basketball coach and player. Prewitt was a three-year varsity letterman at SMU. He was part of SMU’s only NCAA Final Four during three decades as a player and coach. Prewitt was an assistant coach for 18 seasons, a stretch during which SMU reached the Final Four in 1956 and won eight Southwest Conference titles. He was then head coach of the Mustangs for eight seasons, from 1967-75.

May 4 — Larry Hunter, 68, former Ohio and Western Carolina men’s basketball coach. Hunter won 702 career games, including 397 in Division I during 12 seasons at Ohio and 13 at Western Carolina. He also was the head coach at Division III Wittenberg from 1976-89. Hunter had stepped down at Western Carolina in March after his team went 13-19.

May 8 — Russell McPhedran, 82, former Associated Press photographer, whose balcony photo of a hooded terrorist at the 1972 Munich Olympics became one of the iconic images of the 20th century. McPhedran, who was inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame last November, worked at the Sydney bureau of the Associated Press from 1985 until his retirement in 2003. He was the longest-serving photo editor at the Sydney bureau of the AP.

May 9 — Frank King, 81, architect of the 1988 Winter Olympics. King was the chief executive officer of Calgary’s organizing committee.

May 11 — Clare Droesch, 36, former Boston College women’s basketball player who helped lead the Eagles to the 2004 Big East title. Droesch scored 1,136 points for BC.

May 11 — Billy Brewer, 83, former Mississippi football star who went on to coach the Rebels to eight Egg Bowl victories over rival Mississippi State. Brewer coached Ole Miss for 11 seasons from 1983 to 1993, finishing with a 67-56-3 record. He took the Rebels to five bowl games and was the head coach at Southeastern Louisiana and Louisiana Tech before coaching the Rebels.

May 12 — Chuck Knox, 86, veteran NFL coach who led the Seattle Seahawks for nine years and took the Los Angeles Rams to three straight NFC championship games. Knox went 186-147-1 during 22 seasons as an NFL head coach, including two stints with the Rams.

May 12 — Clare Drake, 89, Hockey Hall of Fame coach. Drake coached the University of Alberta Golden Bears to six Canadian university men’s hockey championships and 17 Canada West conference championships. Drake was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 in the builder category. Beyond his championships in 28 years at the University of Alberta, Drake influenced a generation of future NHL coaches, including Ken Hitchcock, Mike Babcock and Barry Trotz.

May 13 — Tessa Jowell, 70, former U.K. culture secretary who played a key role in securing the 2012 London Olympics.

May 14 — Doug Ford, 95, oldest surviving Masters champion and a former PGA player of the year. He won the 1955 PGA Championship, and then two years later won the Masters. Ford was the PGA player of the year that season. He collected the first of his 19 tour victories in 1952, and his last win was in 1963.

May 14 — Mike Drass, 57, Wesley College’s longtime football coach and athletic director. Drass had been an integral part of Wesley College for 29 years, starting his Wesley coaching career in 1989. He served for 26 years as head coach including 13 consecutive berths in the NCAA Championship Tournament with 229 wins, 61 losses and 1 tie.

May 14 — Thomas Howard, 26, British rugby player for the Durham City club died on a tour of Sri Lanka. He was admitted to hospital in Colombo after suffering breathing problems on May 13.

May 15 — Jlloyd Samuel, 37, former Trinidad and Tobago defender who played in the English Premier League for Aston Villa and Bolton.

May 16 — Tom Baty, 27, British rugby player for the Durham City club was the second player to die on a tour of Sri Lanka. He and Thomas Howard were admitted to hospital in Colombo after suffering breathing problems on May 13.

May 16 — Mike Slive, 77, former Southeastern Conference commissioner who guided the league to unprecedented success and prosperity. Slive retired in 2015 after 13 years as commissioner. The conference won 81 national championships in 17 sports during his tenure. Slive played a pivotal role in the creation of the College Football Playoff.

May 16 — Andy Johnson, 65, star quarterback for Georgia before going on to play running back with the New England Patriots for nine seasons. Johnson took over as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback in 1971 and led the team to an 11-1 record that included a Gator Bowl victory. He finished his career with 1,799 rushing yards, the most by a quarterback at that time.

May 16 — Ray Wilson, 83, left back in all six of England’s games in its World Cup-winning campaign in 1966. Wilson played for Huddersfield for most of his career. He made 63 appearances for England from 1960-68. At 32, Wilson was the oldest player in the England lineup that beat West Germany 4-2 in extra time in the final at Wembley Stadium in July 1966.

May 18 — Troy Waters, 53, former junior middleweight world title boxing contender. One of three boxing brothers Guy and Dean were the others, each of whom won national titles and fought internationally — Guy Waters was one of Australia’s most successful fighters of the 1980s and 1990s. He unsuccessfully challenged for a world title three times.

May 20 — Billy Cannon, 80, LSU running back who won the Heisman Trophy in 1959. Cannon led the Tigers to a national championship in 1958 and won the Heisman following year, highlighted by his famous tackle-breaking 89-yard return that beat Ole Miss 7-3. He also won the first two AFL championships with Houston in 1960 and 1961, and was named the title games’ most valuable player both times.

May 20 — Carol Mann, 77, two-time major champion who won 38 LPGA Tour titles. Her major titles were the 1964 Women’s Western Open Invitational and the 1965 U.S. Women’s Open. She won 10 tournaments in 1968. Mann also served as LPGA president from 1973-76. She was an analyst for men’s and women’s golf on ABC, ESPN and NBC.


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