2018 Notable Sports Deaths

UNDATED: of Western Australia.


Feb. 25 — Scott Westgarth, 31, English boxer died following a bout on Feb. 24. Westgarth became ill after his English light-heavyweight title eliminator against Dec Spellman. Westgarth conducted a post-fight interview after beating Spellman on points for his seventh win in 10 professional fights.

Feb. 25 — Dan Fegan, 56, longtime sports agent who represented some of the NBA’s biggest stars. He was listed as one of the top agents in the country by Forbes magazine in 2016. His clients included Dwight Howard, John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Nene and Ricky Rubio.

Feb. 27 — Enrique Castro, 68, former Spain striker who played for Barcelona and thrived in a long career with Sporting Gijon. Known as “The Wizard,” Castro played in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups with Spain.


Feb. 28 — Joe Gilmartin, 88, sports columnist for the old Phoenix Gazette for more than 30 years and member of the Pro Basketball Writers Hall of Fame.

March 1 — Dorne Dibble, 88, two-way player at Michigan State who was on two Detroit Lions title teams in the 1950s. In two seasons at Michigan State, Dibble caught 16 passes for 363 yards. Dibble was part of NFL championship teams in 1953 and 1957. In six NFL seasons, he caught 146 passes for 2,552 yards and 19 touchdowns.

March 2 — Blain Padgett, 21, Rice defensive lineman died of a drug overdose.

March 2 — Sammy Stewart, 63, former Baltimore pitcher. Stewart helped the Orioles win the 1983 World Series. He had a 0.00 ERA in four World Series games, spanning 7 2/3 innings. The right-hander went 59-48 with 45 saves and a 3.59 ERA in 10 seasons — the first eight with Baltimore, then one each with Boston and Cleveland.

March 2 — John Brunetti, 87, horse breeder and the owner of historic Hialeah Park since 1977. As Hialeah’s owner, Brunetti feuded with nearby Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course for the best racing dates. When the state of Florida stopped assigning dates in 1989, Hialeah found itself unable to compete with the other tracks, and its prominence quickly faded.

March 3 — Roger Bannister, 88, the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile. In Oxford on May 6, 1954, Bannister ran four laps on a cinder track in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds to crack the mythical 4-minute mile — a feat many had thought humanly impossible.

March 4 — Davide Astori, 31, Fiorentina captain was found dead in his hotel room after a suspected cardiac arrest before an Italian league soccer match. Fiorentina played 14 times for Italy’s national team. He spent six years in Sardinia and made his national team debut before being sent out on loan to Roma in 2014.

March 5 — Costakis Koutsokoumnis, 61, president of the Cyprus Football Association for the last 17 years.

March 7 — Woody Durham, 76, the retired “Voice of the Tar Heels” who called North Carolina football and basketball games for four decades. Durham called UNC games from 1971 through 2011. He worked more than 1,800 games, including 23 bowls and 13 Final Fours.

March 8 — Thomas Rodriguez, 18, soccer player with French second-division club Tours. Rodriguez joined in 2016 and progressed through the Tours youth academy before playing for the reserves.

March 8 — Ronnie Franklin, 58, former jockey who rode Spectacular Bid to victory in the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Franklin was 19 when he rode Spectacular Bid. Franklin’s bid to capture the Triple Crown ended at the Belmont when Spectacular Bid finished third. Franklin rode 1,403 winners in 9,242 starts from 1978-92 and had purse earnings of more than $14 million. He won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding apprentice jockey.

March 9 — Chris Gedney, 47, All-American tight end at Syracuse who played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals. Gedney played seven seasons in the NFL. A consensus All-American for the Orange in 1992, Gedney helped lead the Orange to four bowl games and set Syracuse records for receptions by a tight end.

March 12 — Ken Flach, 54, owner of six Grand Slam doubles titles. Flach won four Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles and two in mixed doubles. Flach reached No. 1 in the men’s doubles rankings and paired with Robert Seguso to form one of the world’s top teams in the 1980s. Flach and Seguso also collected a gold medal for the United States at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

March 13 — Bebeto de Freitas, 68, former volleyball coach who led Brazil to a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics.

March 14 — Saul Cohen, 96, member of the Long Island University 1941 NIT Championship team. He ended his career at LIU in 1943, an All Metropolitan Selection. He played professionally in the ABL from 1945-1949 for the Brooklyn Gothams, and The Jersey City, Scranton and Utica Teams.

March 14 — Jesse Haddock, 91, long-time Wake Forest golf coach. Haddock was named coach in 1960. The Demon Deacons men’s golf team won 10 straight Atlantic Coast Conference championships from 1967 to 1976 and 15 ACC titles overall. He also captured three national titles in 1974, 1975, and 1986. Haddock retired in 1993. Among the players he coached are two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange, PGA champion Lanny Wadkins and Jay Haas.

March 15 — Ed Charles, 84, member of the Miracle Mets of 1969. Charles had a standout rookie season with the Kansas City Athletics in 1962. Charles hit .288 with 17 homers and 74 RBIs to finish second in voting for the American League Rookie of the Year award. He was traded to the New York Mets in 1967 and shared third-base duties with rookie Wayne Garrett in 1969.

March 15 — Augie Garrido, 79, Hall of Fame college baseball coach. Garrido won three national baseball championships at Cal State Fullerton (1979, 1984 and 1995) and two more at Texas (2002 and 2005). He last coached the Longhorns in 2016 and his 1,975 career victories dating to 1969 rank first in college baseball.

March 15 — Tom Benson, 90, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. A successful auto dealer, Benson made his mark in pro sports with the Saints, which he bought in 1985. He paid $70 million for the team, which is now worth close to $2 billion. When the NBA took over the financially troubled New Orleans Hornets in late 2010, Benson finally stepped in and bought the club.

March 15 — Larry Kwong, 94, first player of Asian heritage to appear in an NHL game. Kwong played a shift with the New York Rangers against the Montreal Canadiens on March 13, 1948.

March 18 — Leo Brown, 84, Ohio State’s first black football captain. Brown was a two-way end for the Buckeyes, captaining coach Woody Hayes’ 1957 national championship team. Brown also played on Ohio State’s 1955 Big Ten championship team and the 1956 team that set a Big Ten mark with 17 consecutive conference victories.

March 18 — Mark Dombroski, 19, rugby player for Saint Joseph’s University, of Philadelphia, was found dead after a tournament in Bermuda.

March 21 — Francis Edelen, 21, member of the University of Illinois wrestling team was killed in a hit-and-run accident in central Illinois.

March 21 — Dick Wilmarth, 75, winner of the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973. Wilmarth was one of 34 teams in the initial Iditarod from Anchorage to Nome. He finished the race in 20 days, about twice as long as mushers today. He never raced the Iditarod again.

March 22 — Jose Flores, 56, renowned jockey who was among the best in Pennsylvania history. Flores died of injuries suffered in a racing accident on March 19 at Parx Racing, a track in the Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem. The jockey won 4,650 races in a career that spanned more than three decades.

March 22 — Rene Houseman, 64, striker who won the 1978 World Cup with Argentina. Known as “Loco,” or the “Crazy One,” Houseman represented Argentina in 55 games from 1973-79, scoring 13 times. He played in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups.

March 22 — H. Wayne Huizenga, 80, college dropout who built a business empire that included Blockbuster Entertainment, AutoNation and three professional sports franchises. Huizenga was founding owner of baseball’s Florida Marlins and the NHL Florida Panthers — expansion teams that played their first games in 1993. He bought the NFL Miami Dolphins and their stadium for $168 million in 1994 but had sold all three teams by 2009.

March 22 — Dick Gamble, 89, Stanley Cup champion and American Hockey League Hall of Famer. Gamble won the Stanley Cup in 1953 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens and captured the AHL’s Calder Cup three times with Rochester.

March 25 — Mel Rosen, 90, former Auburn and Olympic track and field coach. Rosen was the Tigers’ head coach from 1963-1991 before leaving to coach the U.S. men’s team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Rosen led the 1992 team to eight goal medals, including five Olympic records and three world records. A three-time NCAA coach of the year, Rosen led Auburn to five Southeastern Conference championships.

March 26 — Zeke Upshaw, 26, swingman for the Detroit Pistons’ G League affiliate who collapsed on the court during a game on March 24. He was in his second season with the Drive. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward from Chicago played three seasons at Illinois State University and finished his college career at Hofstra.

March 26 — John Fisher, 47, crewman who went overboard from Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag’s 65-foot sloop some 1,400 nautical miles west of Cape Horn.

March 27 — Jerry Moses, 71, nine-year major league veteran catcher and member of the Red Sox organization from 1964-70, including the 1967 American League Championship “Impossible Dream” season.

March 28 — David Humm, 65, former star quarterback at Nebraska. Humm was a starter for three seasons at Nebraska, leading the team to top 10 finishes each season. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1975 and was a backup on Super Bowl-winning teams in the 1976 and 1983 seasons.

March 28 — Daryl Thomas, 52, a starter on Indiana University’s 1987 NCAA basketball championship team. Thomas won All-Big Ten First Team recognition as the Hoosiers won their fifth national title during his senior season. The 6-foot-7 forward later played professionally overseas.

March 29 — Emiliano Mondonico, 71, former Torino coach who was famous for raising a chair over his head in protest during his team’s loss to Ajax in the 1992 UEFA Cup final. Mondonico also played for Torino, Monza and Atalanta, and coached Atalanta and Fiorentina, among others.

March 29 — Rusty Staub, 73, the orange-haired outfielder who became a huge hit with baseball fans in two countries during a career that spanned 23 major league seasons. Affectionately dubbed “Le Grand Orange,” Staub was a six-time All-Star and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits with four teams. He was most adored in New York and Montreal. Staub played from 1963 to 1985 and finished 284 hits shy of 3,000. He had 3 1/2 great seasons with the Detroit Tigers and batted .300 for the Texas Rangers in 1980.

April 1 — Bob Beattie, 85, ski racing pioneer who helped launch the Alpine World Cup circuit more than 50 years ago. Beattie’s career included stints as coach of the U.S. ski team and at the University of Colorado, where he led the Buffaloes to a pair of national titles. He also was a commentator at the Olympics and authored several books.

April 3 — Bill Rademacher, 75, former two-way NFL player. The wide receiver and defensive back was an undrafted free agent from Northern Michigan who made the New York Jets in 1964 and was a backup and special teams player on the 1968 title season. He also was head coach at North Michigan, going 37-16-1 in five seasons.

April 4 — Ray Wilkins, 61, elegant midfielder who captained England’s national soccer team and played for illustrious teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and AC Milan in a 24-year career. Nicknamed “Butch,” Wilkins played 84 times for England — captaining the team for 10 games.

April 4 — “Luscious” Johnny Valiant, 71, former professional wrestling champion. The WWE Hall of Famer, born Tommy Sullivan, won the world tag team championships in 1974 with James Fanning as The Valiant Brothers. He partnered with “Gentleman” Jerry Valiant to win the world tag team championships in 1979.

April 4 — Don Cherry, 94, popular 1950s pop singer who competed mostly as an amateur golfer, but turned professional in 1962, two years after a ninth-place finish at the 1960 U.S. Open. Highlights of his amateur career include winning the 1953 Canadian Amateur and appearing on three victorious U.S. Walker Cup teams (1953, 1955 and 1961).

April 5 — Eric Bristow, 60, five-time world darts champion acclaimed as the sport’s first superstar. Bristow won his world titles between 1980 and 1986.

April 6 — Samba Diop, 18, teenage defender for French soccer club Le Havre. Le Havre is in the second tier of the French league. Diop was a member of its reserve team, which plays in the fourth-tier National 2 championship.

April 6 — Sixteen people died when a truck collided with a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team that was headed to a playoff game. The bus driving the had 29 passengers, including the driver, when it crashed on Highway 35 in Saskatchewan. Among the dead are the bus driver Glen Doerksen, 59; Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, 42; assistant coaches Mark Cross, 27 and Mark Jones, 27; team captain Logan Schatz, 20; players Logan Boulet, 21; Conner Lukan, 21; Stephen Wack, 21; Jaxon Joseph, 20; Jacob Leicht, 19; Logan Hunter, 18; Evan Thomas, 18; Parker Tobin, 18 and Adam Herold, 16; radio announcer Tyler Bieber, 29; and statistican Brody Hinz, 18. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is a junior ‘A’ hockey league under Hockey Canada, which is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. It’s open to North American-born players between the ages of 16 and 20.


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