One of the true greats from the ranks of the NCAA and the NBA passed away on Friday, as the “Los Angeles Times” reported that Walt Hazzard lost his battle against an extended illness at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The former UCLA guard and coach suffered a stroke back in 1996, and never bounced back after having heart surgery earlier this year. The number one pick in the 1964 NBA Draft was 69 years old. Hazzard was a member of the first NCAA Championship Team at UCLA under legendary coach John Wooden. He would go onto play ten years in the Association starting with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hazzard and teammate Gail Goodrich solidified the back-court for the Bruins leading to their NCAA Title. He was also a member of the gold medal winning Team USA in the 1964 Olympics. Hazzard would then move onto playing in the Association, having stints with the Lakers, Seattle, Atlanta, Buffalo and Golden State. After his playing days ended, Hazzard would return to UCLA in 1984 to become the team’s head coach. The school won the NIT Championship in 1985, and Hazzard coached the team from 1984-1988.