Notable sports deaths of 2009

Notable sports deaths of 2009:

Preston Gomez

The longtime Angels scouting consultant who had been a third base coach for the Dodgers when they won the 1965 World Series died Jan. 13 at 86 after being seriously injured in a freak accident at a gas station.

Ingemar Johansson


The Swede stunned the boxing world by knocking out Floyd Patterson in 1959 to win the heavyweight title. He died Jan. 30 at age 76.

Jeremy Lusk

The star of freestyle motocross died at 24 on Feb. 10 of head injuries after a crash in a competition in Costa Rica.

Brad Van Pelt


The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the New York Giants in the 1980s died Feb. 17 at 57 of an apparent heart attack.

Lou Saban

The pro football coach whose players included O.J. Simpson and who was an administrator for George Steinbrenner’s New York Yankees died March 29 at 87.

Andrea Mead Lawrence

The only American alpine skier to win two gold medals in a single Olympics, she later become a leading conservationist. She died March 30 of cancer at 76.

Nick Adenhart

Hours after his season debut, the Angels’ rookie pitcher, 22, was killed in a car crash April 9 involving an alleged drunk driver. Two of Adenhart’s friends in the car also were killed and another was seriously injured.

Harry Kalas


The longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster and familiar narrator for NFL Films died April 13 at 73 after being found passed out in the broadcast booth just hours before a Phillies game.

Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

The Tigers pitcher whose offbeat antics electrified Detroit and baseball fans everywhere in the late 1970s died at 54 after an accident that occurred while he was working under a truck April 13.

Felix “Doc” Blanchard

At the time of his death he was the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner: Army’s “Mr. Inside” in college football’s most famous running-back combination. He died April 19 of pneumonia at 84.

Bill Barnes

The UCLA football coach in the late 1950s and early ‘60s led the Bruins to the 1962 Rose Bowl. He died April 23 at 91.

Dominic DiMaggio


The Boston Red Sox center fielder, a seven-time American League All-Star and younger brother of legendary Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, died May 8 at 92.

Chuck Daly

The Hall of Fame basketball coach who led the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, and coached the “Dream Team” to an Olympic gold medal in 1992, died May 9 of cancer at 78.

Bob Rosburg

The 1959 winner of the PGA Championship and later a golf television analyst, Rosburg died May 14 at 82 of complications after a fall.

Alexis Arguello

The popular Nicaraguan boxer who won three world titles in the ring and was the mayor of Managua was found dead July 1 with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was 57.

Steve McNair

The former NFL quarterback who was named co-most valuable player in 2003 was found shot to death July 4. He was 36.

Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela

The Hall of Fame jockey won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1958 and 1968. He died Sept. 2 at 74.

Jack Kramer

The tennis champion, who won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, became a top promoter and a driving force behind professional tennis. He died Sept. 12 of cancer at 88.

Myles Brand

The NCAA president is credited with helping to streamline and reform the governing body of collegiate sports but is best remembered as the Indiana University president who fired legendary basketball coach Bob Knight. Brand died Sept. 16 of cancer at 67.

Cullen Bryant

A mainstay of the Los Angeles Rams for 11 seasons and a running back on their 1980 Super Bowl team, Bryant died of natural causes Oct. 13. He was 58.

Bobby Frankel

The Hall of Fame trainer was recognized on both coasts for his affection for and success with thoroughbred horses. He died Nov. 16 at 68 of complications from lymphoma.

Abe Pollin

The Washington Wizards owner who brought an NBA championship to the nation’s capital in 1978, and was the NBA’s longest-tenured owner, died Nov. 24 at 85.

Chris Henry

The Cincinnati Bengals receiver died Dec. 17 from injuries sustained a day earlier when he fell out of the back of a pickup truck during what police said was a domestic dispute. He was 26.