Ex-UCLA Men's Basketball Coach Walt Hazzard Dead at 69

"This is a sad day for the UCLA basketball family," says Bruin athletic director

By Olsen Ebright
|  Friday, Nov 18, 2011  |  Updated 5:46 PM PDT
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Hazzard was co-captain of UCLA's first NCAA championship basketball team and one of just seven UCLA men's basketball players to have his uniform number retired.

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Former UCLA men's basketball coach Walt Hazzard died at the age of 69, the university announced Friday.

Hazzard died Friday afternoon at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after battling a long illness, the university announced on its website.

"Walt Hazzard, aka Mahdi Abdul Rahman, passed away this afternoon at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center surrounded by family and friends. Hazzard had been recuperating for a long period due to complications following heart surgery," according to a statement from the family.

Hazzard was co-captain of UCLA's first NCAA championship basketball team and one of just seven UCLA men's basketball players to have his uniform number retired.

"This is a sad day for the UCLA basketball family," said Bruin athletic director Dan Guerrero.

"Walt was the catalyst for Coach John Wooden's first championship team and played the game with a style that excited Bruin basketball fans everywhere," Guerrero said.

Hazzard was a college and Olympic champion, a consensus All-American and national college player of the year during his career with the Bruins.

He also was UCLA's head basketball coach for four seasons in the 1980s. Prior to that, he was head coach at Compton College and at Chapman College in Orange County.

In addition to his stellar college career, Hazzard played in the NBA for 10 years, starting with his first-round selection by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1964 draft.

After his coaching career, Hazzard was a scout and a special consultant for the Lakers.

Hazzard is survived by his wife Jaleesa and their four sons.

Funeral services were pending.

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