Notable sports deaths in 2012
Ryan Freel, a former Major League Baseball player known for his fearless play passed away on Dec. 22, 2012.
Freel, who was 36, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound. Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round of the 1995 amateur draft out of Tallahassee Community College, Freel made his big league debut in April 2001 with the Blue Jays. The Jacksonville native thrilled fans with his all-out style, yet it took a toll on his career. During his playing days, he once estimated he had sustained up to ten concussions.
Gertrude "Gussie" Moran, who shocked the modest midcentury tennis world when she took the court at Wimbledon with short skirt and ruffled underwear, has died at age 89.
Moran had recently returned from a long hospital stay with colon cancer when she died Wednesday night in her small apartment in Los Angeles, said Jack Neworth, a tennis writer who befriended Moran in her final year.
Moran will be cremated, and friends plan to spread her ashes in the ocean, in view of her family home.
The jovial, basketball-obsessed coach who led Utah to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools, died Saturday. Rick Majerus was 64.
Players remembered Majerus, who got his start as an assistant under Al McGuire at Marquette, as a coach who was exacting and perhaps a bit unorthodox at times, but always fair. Majerus was known for assembling rosters with an international flair, and his final team at Saint Louis had players from Australia and New Zealand.
Hector "Macho" Camacho
Hector "Macho" Camacho, a Puerto Rican boxer known for skill and flamboyance in the ring as well as for a messy personal life and run-ins with the police, was declared dead on Saturday, four days after being shot in the face. He was 50.
Shot while sitting in a parked car outside a bar Tuesday with a friend in the city of Bayamon, Police say drugs played a part in the motive.
Camacho fought professionally for three decades, from his humble debut against David Brown at New York's Felt Forum in 1980 to an equally forgettable swansong against Sal Duran in Kissimmee, Florida, in 2010.
He had a career record of 79-6-3.
Marvin Miller, the soft-spoken union head who led baseball players in a series of strikes and legal battles that won free agency, revolutionized sports and made athletes multimillionaires, died Tuesday. He was 95.
Miller died at his home in Manhattan at 5:30 a.m., said his daughter Susan Miller. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer in August.
Darrell Royal, the former Texas football coach known as much for his folksy, simplistic approach to life as for his creative wishbone offenses and two national championships, has died. He was 88.
Royal had suffered from Alzheimer's disease and recently fell at an assisted living center where he was receiving care.
Royal didn't have a single losing season in his 23 years as a head coach at Texas, Mississippi State and Washington. During his 20 years at Texas (1957-1976), his teams boasted a 167-47-5 record - the best mark in the nation during that period.
Texas honored Royal in 1996 by renaming the football stadium Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium.
ESPN radio announcer Jim Durham, who called NBA games for the network, has died. He was 65.
ESPN said Monday that Durham died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas. A cause of death was not announced.
Durham was the lead play-by-play commentator for NBA games on ESPN Radio since its inception in 1996. His last assignment for ESPN was Tuesday's season opener between Boston and Miami.
Milt Campbell, who became the first African-American to win the Olympic decathlon in 1956 and went on to play pro football and become a motivational speaker, has died, his family said. He was 78.
Linda Rusch, Campbell's partner of 13 years, said Campbell died Friday at his home in Gainesville. She said he had been fighting prostate cancer for a decade.
Emanuel Steward, the owner of the legendary Kronk Gym and one of boxing's greatest trainers, has died. He was 68.
The International Boxing Hall of Famer made his name training Thomas Hearns at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. That paved the way for Steward to work with a long line of champion boxers such as champion Lennox Lewis, during a big part of his title run, and current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as recently as July.
Steward owned the legendary Kronk Gym, where his fighters were clad in red and gold trunks, and worked as an analyst for HBO.
Slater Martin, the Hall of Fame guard who won four NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers and one with the St. Louis Hawks, died Thursday. He was 86.
Martin died Thursday at a skilled nursing facility in Houston after a sudden illness, daughter-in-law Becky Martin said. She said he was admitted to the nursing home Monday.
Martin was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. The 5-foot-10 Martin averaged 9.8 points and 4.2 assists in 745 NBA regular-season game with Minneapolis, New York and St. Louis from 1949-50 to 1959-60. Martin played in seven All-Star games and was a five-time, second-team All-NBA selection.
He is survived by sons Jim and Slater Jr.
Eddie Yost, nicknamed "The Walking Man" because of his penchant for drawing bases on balls during an 18-year major league career, has died. He was 86.
After his playing days, Yost was a third base coach for the Red Sox, New York Mets and Washington Senators.
The Red Sox say Yost is survived by his daughters, Felita and Alexis, and son Mike.
Olympic BMX cyclist Kyle Bennett has been killed in an automobile accident in Texas. He was 33.
A statement from USA Cycling says the single-vehicle crash happened early Sunday in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston.
Bennett was a three-time BMX world champion and won an automatic spot on the first U.S. BMX Olympic team in 2008.
Bennett is survived by his fiance and a young daughter.
Helmut Haller, who scored the first goal of the 1966 World Cup final and was one of the first Germans to play in Italy, died Thursday at his home in Augsburg after a long illness. He was 73.
Haller put Germany ahead in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium, but England won the title 4-2 in extra time. Haller played 33 games for Germany and scored 13 goals.
Carroll "Beano" Cook
The folksy ESPN college football commentator Beano Cook has died.
The 81 year-old commentator had worked for the sports network since 1986 and was the sports information director at his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, from 1956 to 1966.
The university announced Thursday that Cook had died in his sleep.
Alex Karras -- a star who successfully straddled the worlds of sports and show business -- died on Wednesday in Los Angeles, his attorney told the Associated Press. The actor and football star was 77, and recently suffered kidney failure.
Karras first became famous in the 1960s as a lineman for the Detroit Lions. Following his NFL retirement at age 35 in 1970, he became both a Monday Night Football analyst and a Hollywood actor. In addition to film roles in Paper Lion, Blazing Saddles and Victor Victoria, his most notable turn was on the 80s sitcom Webster, in which he and real-life wife Susan Clark played the adoptive parents to a young African-American boy (played by the late Emmanuel Lewis).
"Perhaps no player in Lions history attained as much success and notoriety for what he did after his playing days as did Alex," Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement.
"We know Alex first and foremost as one of the cornerstones to our Fearsome Foursome defensive line of the 1960s and also as one of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play in the NFL . . . Many others across the country came to know Alex as an accomplished actor and as an announcer during the early years of 'Monday Night Football."
NFL Films President Steve Sabol, half of the father-son team that revolutionized sports broadcasting and mythologized pro football into the country's favorite sport, died Tuesday from brain cancer. He was 69.
In March 2011, Sabol was diagnosed with a tumor on the left side of his brain after being hospitalized for a seizure.
His father, Ed, founded NFL Films, and Steve was there working beside him right from the start in 1964. They introduced a series of innovations now taken for granted today, from slow-motion replays to blooper reels to sticking microphones on coaches and players.
Steve Sabol received 35 Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing. No one else had ever earned that many in as many different categories.
"This is a sad day for football fans everywhere," Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "As someone who grew up watching NFL Films creations, I can attest to Steve's vision and contribution to the incredible popularity of this sport. His, along with his father, Ed's, creativity and passion for the game cultivated many, many avid fans."
Nevin Spence, an Ulster rugby player with a bright future expected on Ireland's national team, has died in an accident at his family farm. He was 22.
Ulster Rugby confirmed Sunday the "tragic death" of Spence, who died along with his father and brother after falling into a slurry tank at a farm in Hillsborough in the Northern Irish region of County Down.
Spence's sister, Emma, is recovering in the hospital from the effects of fume inhalation. She and Nevin were reportedly attempting to rescue their brother and father, who had already fallen into the tank.
Former Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell died early Thursday. He was 87.
Modell was among the most important figures in the NFL as owner of the Cleveland Browns and a league insider. During his four decades as a team owner, he helped negotiate the NFL's lucrative contracts with television networks, served as president of the NFL from 1967 to 1969, and chaired the negotiations for the first the collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968.
Modell, however, made one decision that hounded him the rest of his life. He moved the Cleveland franchise to Baltimore in 1996 and Ohio fans never forgave him for it.
Born June 23, 1925, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Modell dropped out of high school at age 15 and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard cleaning out the hulls of ships to help out his financially strapped family after the death of his father.
Patricia, his wife of 42 years, died last year.
"I think that part of my legacy is I left the colors, the name and the records in Cleveland," Modell said. "The fans in Cleveland were loyal and supportive. They lived and died with me every Sunday for 35 years."
Austen Everett, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma while she was a member of Miami's women's soccer team in 2008, has died, her family said. She was 25.
Everett died Tuesday at a hospice facility in Colorado. She was on the Hurricanes' roster as a goalkeeper from 2007 through 2009.
Within a year of her diagnosis, she was back on the Hurricanes' practice field and founded the Austen Everett Foundation, which would have athletes spend time with children with cancer and other terminal diseases. Her family intends to keep the foundation going.
Miami plans a candlelight vigil in the coming days, along with other tributes.
A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Seattle, Everett's hometown.
Simon Gourdine, who became deputy commissioner of the NBA in 1974 and went on to work for and lead the players' association in the 1990s, has died. He was 72.
The NBA confirmed Gourdine died on Thursday, though the cause of death was not released. He was living in the Bronx.
Gourdine became the NBA's attorney in 1970 and was hired as deputy commissioner by Commissioner Walter Kennedy. At the time, he was the highest-ranking black executive in professional sports.
He helped negotiate a labor deal that created free agency in the NBA in 1976
He left the NBA in 1981, but returned to pro basketball in 1990 as general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association. In 1995, he became executive director, negotiating an end to the NBA lockout.
Duke announces Art Heyman, the captain of the Blue Devils' first Final Four team, has died.
The school said Tuesday family members say Heyman died Monday night in Florida. The cause of death was not available. He was 71.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski says Heyman was "one of the elite players to ever wear a Blue Devil uniform."
Heyman led Duke to a 69-14 record from 1960-63 and averaged 25 points and nearly 11 rebounds. He was the most outstanding player of the 1963 Final Four.
He's tied for 12th on Duke's career scoring list (1,294 points) and is one of three Blue Devils to average a double-double for three straight seasons.
Heyman was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1963 and played eight seasons in the NBA and ABA.
Steve Van Buren
Steve Van Buren, the square-jawed Hall of Fame running back who led the Philadelphia Eagles to NFL titles in 1948 and 1949, has died. He was 91.
The Eagles said Van Buren died Thursday in Lancaster, Pa., of pneumonia.
The five-time All-Pro player was selected to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994, and was the first Eagles player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Van Buren was born in La Ceiba, Honduras. His parents died when he was 10, and he moved to New Orleans to live with his grandparents. He failed to make his high school football team as a sophomore, but played well enough as a senior to earn a scholarship at LSU.
Van Buren is survived by three daughters.
Johnny Pesky, who played, managed and served as a broadcaster for the Red Sox in a baseball career that lasted more than 60 years, died Monday. He was 92.
For many in the legion of Red Sox fans, their last image of Pesky will be from the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park on April 20, when the man known for his warmth, kindness and outstanding baseball career was moved to tears at a pregame ceremony.
On his 87th birthday, Sept. 27, 2006, a plaque was unveiled at the base of the foul pole just 302 feet from home plate, designating it "Pesky's Pole."
Pesky died at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, according to Solimine, Landergan and Richardson funeral home in Lynn. The funeral home did not announce a cause of death.
"I've had an interesting life," Pesky told The Associated Press in 2005. "I have no complaints."
Pesky is survived by a son, David. His wife, Ruth, whom he married in 1944, died in 2005.
Hours after sending a gracious yet puzzling middle-of-the-night text message to a former college coach, police say Tennessee Titans receiver O.J. Murdock died in an apparent suicide.
Officers found Murdock at 8:30 a.m. inside his car with what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The car was parked in front of Middleton High School, where Murdock made a name for himself as a dynamic receiver and state champion sprinter in track and field.
San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darryl Akerfelds, who pitched for five seasons in the major leagues, died Sunday pancreatic cancer. He was 50.
Padres manager Bud Black called Akerfelds "an invaluable member of the Padres coaching staff."
He was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010. Last season, Akerfelds attended 148 of the 162, games despite undergoing chemotherapy.
Peter Sauer, a former captain at Stanford who helped lead the Cardinal to the 1998 Final Four, has died. He was 35.
The school said Monday that Sauer died Sunday night in White Plains, N.Y., while playing in an adult league recreational basketball game. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward from Pittsburgh was part of a Stanford team that reached four straight NCAA tournaments under former coach Mike Montgomery.
Stanford's coaching staff received details that Sauer was shooting free throws after a game, collapsed and hit his head. He couldn't be revived after 20 minutes by EMTs. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Sixten Jernberg, a four-time Olympic champion who also captured four gold medals at world championships during his cross country skiing career, has died after a nearly year-long battle with cancer. He was 83.
Jernberg won a total of nine Olympic medals, capturing the first of his four golds in the 50-kilometer race at the Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo in Italy in 1956. He also won Olympic gold at Squaw Valley in 1960 and two golds at Innsbruck in 1964. He dominated his sport, specializing in the longer distances, and won a pair of golds at both the 1958 and 1962 world championships.
Tom Maynard, a batsman with the English county cricket team Surrey, died Monday after being hit by an underground train. He was 23.
Police said they tried to pull over a man fitting Maynard's description after a car was driving "erratically" in the area. The man made off on foot, and an hour later the man was found on the train tracks.
Dave Boswell, who won 20 games for the Minnesota Twins in 1969 despite missing a couple of weeks after a fight with manager Billy Martin, has died. He was 67.
The right-hander had a colorful, albeit short, career and participated in a great pitching duel with Baltimore's Dave McNally in Game 2 of the 1969 AL championship series.
Boswell spent seven seasons with the Twins and finished his career with short stints with Detroit and his hometown Orioles in 1971. He was 68-56 overall
Teofilo "Pirolo" Stevenson
Cuban boxer Teofilo "Pirolo" Stevenson, the three-time Olympic heavyweight champion with a devastating right hand and a gentlemanly demeanor, has died of heart disease. He was 60.
Considered by some to be the most accomplished amateur boxer in history, Stevenson first won gold in 1972 in Munich and followed that up in 1976 at Montreal.
In 1980, he won his third Olympic title in Moscow, becoming the second boxer to win gold at three separate games after Hungarian Lazlo Papp.
NASCAR pioneer Cotton Owens died peacefully surrounded by his family. The Hall of Famer who made his mark as a driver and owner was 88.
Owens, whose given name was Everett, won nine times on NACAR's top circuit including Daytona Beach. He was perhaps better known as an owner, fielding cars for Hall of Fame drivers like Junior Johnson and David Pearson.
Owens won nine times as a driver and 38 as an owner.
Vladimir Krutov, one of the Soviet Union's all-time great ice hockey players and part of the national team's formidable KLM Line, has died. He was 52.
Krutov and his CSKA teammates Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov formed one of the most potent scoring lines that hockey has ever seen, and led the Soviet team to gold in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. He was also part of the team that lost to the United States at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics in the "Miracle on Ice," and won five world championship titles in the 1980s.
Orlando Woolridge, the rugged forward who carved out a reputation over 13 NBA seasons as a scoring specialist and one of the original alley-oop artists, died died while under hospice care for a chronic heart condition at age 52.
The 6-foot-9 Woolridge was the sixth overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1981 after starring at Notre Dame in college and Mansfield High School in Louisiana.
Basketball Hall of Famer Jack Twyman, one of the NBA's top scorers in the 1950s, has died at age 78. He died at a Cincinnati hospice of complications from an aggressive form of blood cancer.
Jack Twyman played for the University of Cincinnati and spent 11 seasons in the NBA with the Rochester and Cincinnati Royals. He scored 15,840 points in his career and was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.
Johnny Tapia, the five-time boxing champion whose turbulent career was marked by cocaine addiction, alcohol, depression and run-ins with the law, was found dead Sunday at his Albuquerque home. He was 45.
Tapia won five championships in three weight classes, winning the WBA bantamweight title, the IBF and WBO junior bantamweight titles and the IBF featherweight belt.
Edoardo Mangiarotti, a fencing great and one of Italy's most famous Olympians, died Friday, May 25 at his home in Milan. He was 93.
Mangiarotti won 13 Olympic medals between 1936 and 1960, including six golds. The medal haul is a record for an Italian and the most of any fencer. Mangiarotti also won 26 world championship medals, including 13 golds.
Bob Boozer died of a brain aneurysm Saturday, May 19 at an Omaha hospital. Ella Boozer, his wife of 46 years, said he had become ill the night begore while visiting friends. He was 75.
Boozer was a star in college, an Olympic gold medalist and an 11-year professional who finished his playing career with an NBA championship.
Decades after a heart condition forced him to retire from racing, Carroll Shelby still loved to drive muscle cars. Well into his 80s, the legendary car designer spent hours testing his last Mustang Shelby GT500, which sets a new record for horsepower and hits a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour.
When Shelby died Thursday night, May 11, in a Dallas hospital, he also was one of the nation's longest-living heart transplant recipients, having received a heart on June 7, 1990, from a 34-year-old man who died of an aneurysm. Shelby also received a kidney transplant in 1996 from his son, Michael.
Boston Red Sox public address announcer Carl Beane, the voice of Fenway Park whose booming baritone called ballplayers to the plate for two World Series champions, died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack while driving. He was 59.
Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found dead in an in his California home on May 2. Seau was 43 years old.
Seau played 19 years in the NFL, spending most of his career with the San Diego Chargers. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler and six-time First-Team All-Pro. He had 1,526 career tacklkes, 18 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles. He was selected fifth overall in the 1990 NFL Draft after playing collegiately at USC. Seau also had brief stints with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Billy Neighbors, a star lineman on Bear Bryant's first national championship team at Alabama and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, died at the age of 72 on April 30 in Huntsville, Ala. A cause of death was not immediately known.
Neighbors was an All-American in 1961 for the Crimson Tide, playing both offense and defense. He anchored a defense that allowed a total of 25 points and posted six shutouts in 11 games that season. He played eight years professionaly with the Boston Patriots and Miami Dolphins and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.
William "Moose" Skowron
Former New York Yankees first baseman William "Moose" Skowron died April 27 at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill. at the age of 81. Skowron was a five-time World Series champion and one of only two players to hit three home runs in Game 7s.
Former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling is shown. Easterling died April 19 in Richmond, Va., at the age 62. Easterling helped lead theFalcon's vaunted defense in the 1970s and later filed a high-profile lawsuit against the NFL targeting the league's handling of concussion-related injuries.
After an eight-year career, Easterling began to suffer from depression and insomnia, and as his dementia progressed he lost the ability to focus, organize his thoughts and relate to people. He became one of seven former players who sued the NFL in Philadelphia in August, claiming that the league failed to properly treat players for concussion and tried to conceal for decades any links between football and brain injuries. It was the first potential class-action lawsuit that was filed.
Former Olympic diving champion Mark Lenzi diedat the age of 43 on Monday, April 9, 2012. Lenzi's hometown newspaper, The Free Lance-Star in Fredricksburg, Virginia, said Lenzi had been hospitalized for two weeks after suffering fainting spells.
Lenzi was the 1992 Olympic 3-meter springboard champion. He earned a bronze medal four years later in Atlanta and became the first diver to score 100 points on a single dive. Lenzi is also the last American male diver to win Olympic gold.
Blair Kiel, the former Notre Dame quarterback and punter who played for Tampa Bay, Indianapolis and Green Bay in the NFL, died Sunday, April 8, 2012 at teh age of 50.
Kiel played for the Irish from 1980-83, completing 297 of 609 passes for 3,650 yards with 17 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. He set the record for the longest pass in Notre Dame history with a 96-yarder to Joe Howard against Georgia Tech in 1981. Kiel also averaged 40.67 yards on 260 punts, and had five rushing TDs for Notre Dame.
Former Italy and New York Cosmos star Giorgio Chinaglia died in his home in Florida, Sunday, April 1, 2012, at the age of 65, his son Anthony Chinaglia announced.
Chianaglia was the all-time leading scorer in the North American Soccer League. Chinaglia helped Italian league club Lazio win its first Italian title in 1974 and played alongside Pele for the Cosmos in 1976. He was inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 200. Chinaglia was being sought by Italian authorities, who issued an arrest warrant for him and eight others in 2006 on charges of extortion and insider trading at Lazio.
Bert Sugar, an iconic boxing writer and sports historian who was known for his trademark fedora and ever-present cigar, died Sunday, March 25, of cardiac arrest. He was 75.
Sugar was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. According to the hall's website, Sugar wrote more than 80 books, including "The 100 Greatest Boxers Of All Time." He also appeared in a handful of films, including "The Great White Hype" starring Samuel Jackson.
The Italian volleyball federation says 1996 Olympic silver medalist Vigor Bovolenta has died after he was stricken with a heart attack while playing a match. He was 37.
Bovolenta was instrumental in helping Italy win the silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics. He also played on the team that won the 1995 European championship and finished runner-up in 2001.
Former offensive coordinator of the Giants and one-time New England Patriots head coach Ron Erhardt died on March 21 at the age of 80..
Erhardt spent eight season with the Giants, reaching the playoffs five times, winning the NFC East three times, along witn two Super Bowls as offensive coordinator under Bill Parcells' regime .
Former Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell died March 20 at the age of 89 from cancer.
Parnell's 123 career wins are the most by a Red Sox left-hander. He had a 25-win season in 1949 and threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox in his final season in 1956.
Longtime umpire Harry Wendelstedt, who worked five World Series, died March 16 from complications of a brain tumor at the age of 73. .
Wendelstedt umpired in the MLB for 30 years, from 1968-98. He called seven NL championship series and four All-Star games, and was behind the plate for five no-hitters.
Former Oregon basketball head coach and NBA assistant Dick Harter died on March 12 at the age of 81.
Harter coached at Rider, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Penn State, compiling a college record of 295-196 and two Ivy League championships with the Quakers. As coach of the Ducks, Harter ended UCLA's 98-game home winning streak in 1976.
Harter was also the Charlotte Hornets first head coach and served as an NBA assistant coach with the Pistons, Knicks, Pacers, and Trial Blazers.
The Hall of Fame catcher, whose single for the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series touched off one of the most improbable rallies in baseball, died Feb. 16. He was 57.
Carter played for the Mets from 1985 through 1989. The "Kid," a Hall of Fame catcher, won the 1986 World Series with the Mets and was named to four All-Star games as a members of the Mets.
Angelo Dundee, famous trainer of Muhammad Ali, died on Wednesday Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla. He was 90 years old.
Dundee was best known for being in Ali's corner for almost his entire career, including his first fight against Sonny Liston through the legendary fights with Joe Frazier and beyond. He also was in the corner of Sugar Ray Leonard.
Joe Paterno, the longtime Penn State coach who won more games than anyone in major college football but was fired amid a child sex abuse scandal that scarred his reputation for winning with integrity, died Sunday of lung cancer. He was 85.
Paterno built his program on the credo "Success with Honor," and he found both. The man known as "JoePa" won 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships. More than 250 of the players he coached went on to the NFL. The final days of Paterno's Penn State career were easily the toughest in his 61 years with the university and 46 seasons as head football coach. Paterno was engulfed by a scandal and forced from his job, because he failed to go to the police in 2002 when told a young boy was molested inside the football complex.
Jiri Raska, the 1968 Olympic ski jumping champion who was named the best Czech skier of the 20th century, died Jan. 20. He was 70.
Raska became the first Czech to win gold at a Winter Olympics when he won off the middle hill in Grenoble, France. He also took a silver medal at the same Olympics on the large hill. In 1969, he set the world record in ski jumping at 164 meters at the flying hill in Planica, then Yugoslavia. He also won the prestigious Four Hill Tour in 1971.
Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke died Jan. 19, nine days after crashing at the bottom of the superpipe during a training run in Utah.
Burke, who lived near Whistler in British Columbia, was 29. She was injured Jan. 10 while training at a personal sponsor event at the Park City Mountain resort. A four-time Winter X Games champion, Burke crashed on the same halfpipe where snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury during a training accident on Dec. 31, 2009. Burke was the best-known athlete in her sport and will be remembered for the legacy she left for women in freestyle skiing.
Marty Springstead, who at the age of 36 in 1973 became the youngest umpire crew chief in World Series history, was found dead in his home on Jan. 17. He was 74.
A native of Nyack, N.Y., Springstead was an American League umpire from 1966-85. Among his three World Series were 1978 and 1983, and he also was an umpire at the All-Star game in 1969, 1975 and 1982 and at five AL championship series. After retiring from the field, he became the AL's executive director of umpires, then worked as an umpire supervisor for MLB after umpire staffs from the leagues merged.
Lefter Kucukandonyadis, one of the best players in Turkish soccer history, died of pneumonia on Jan.14 at the age of 86.
Kucukandonyadis was the captain of Turkey's national team, making 46 appearances for his country. He scored 423 goals in 615 games for Fenerbahce. After his retirement in 1966, Kucukandonyadis coached clubs in Greece, South Africa and Turkey.
Miljan Miljanic, a Serb who once coach Real Madrid, Yugoslavia and Red Star Belgrade, died after a long battle with cancer on Jan. 13. He was 81.
Miljanic, known for his defensive tactics and reliance on experienced players, took the Yugoslav national team to the 1974 and 1982 World Cups. He won four league titles and three cups with Red Star between 1966 and 1974 during the glory days of Yugoslav soccer. He then captured back-to-back Spanish titles and a Copa del Rey trophy with Real Madrid between 1974 and 1977.
Former St. Louis Blues general manager Ron Caron died at the age of 82 on Jan. 9.
Nicknamed the "Old Professor," Caron was a longtime assistant GM for the Canadiens and helped build the Montreal teams that won Stanley Cups in 1971 and '73 and four straight titles from '76-'79. Caron was hired as GM in St. Louis in 1983 and spent over a decade in the position.
Gene Bartow, who succeeded John Wooden at UCLA and later began UAB's athletic program, died at the age of 81 on Jan. 3 after a long battle with stomach cancer.
Bartow, who was the president of the company that owns the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and FedEx Forum. Bartow was one of the winningest NCAA Division I basketball coaches with 647 wins over 34 seasons. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and UAB renamed its basketball arena in his honor in 1997. He succeeded John Wooden as UCLA's coach in 1976 and led the Bruins to the Final Four but left after two seasons to start Alabama-Birmingham's program, expanding it under his tenure as athletic director to feature 17 sports.
Longtime sports broadcaster Jim Huber passed away on Jan. 3 at the age of 67.
Huber was an Emmy Award-winning essayist who joined Turner Sports full-time in 2000 and was an announcer for professional golf matches and NBA games. He previously served as an anchor and reporter for CNN/Sports Illustrated and hosted CNN's Pro Golf Weekly and Sporting Life with Jim Huber.