PASSINGS: Dave Treen, Forest Evashevski, Cordner Nelson

PASSINGS: Dave Treen, Forest Evashevski, Cordner Nelson
In 1979, Dave Treen became Louisiana’s first GOP governor since Reconstruction. (Bill Haber / Associated Press)
Dave Treen

Ex-governor of Louisiana

Dave Treen, 81, who in 1979 became the first Republican governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction but lost a reelection bid to the controversial Democrat Edwin Edwards four years later, died Thursday of complications from a respiratory illness, said his son David Treen Jr.

Treen did not have to face Edwards in 1979 because the popular governor couldn't run for three consecutive terms. Treen defeated Louis Lambert but lost in a landslide four years later to Edwards, who is serving a 10-year sentence for trying to rig the riverboat casino licensing process during his fourth term.

Treen's term was marked by a downturn in Louisiana's oil economy, with prices and production falling, cutting sharply into the state's revenue.

David Connor Treen was born in Baton Rouge, La., on July 16, 1928, and graduated with honors from Tulane Law School in 1960. He was an Air Force lawyer, then had a private practice in New Orleans.

Treen lost three times to Rep. Hale Boggs, attacking his support of the Voting Rights Act. Treen was elected to Congress in 1972 in a suburban New Orleans district.

Forest Evashevski

Winning Iowa football coach

Forest Evashevski, 91, a college football star at Michigan who coached Iowa to two Rose Bowl victories in the 1950s, died of cancer Friday at his home in Petoskey, Mich., said his son, Forest Evashevski Jr.

Evashevski was hired at the University of Iowa in 1952, seven years after the school's last winning season. He inherited a program that had languished in the bottom of the Big Ten Conference.

But in the 1956 season, the Hawkeyes reached the Rose Bowl, defeating Oregon State University, 35-19. The team came to Pasadena again in the 1958 season, beating UC Berkeley, 38-12.

Evashevski was 52-27-4 at Iowa, winning three Big Ten championships. He became athletic director after the 1960 season.

Evashevski, born Feb. 19, 1918, in Detroit, was captain of the 1940 team at the University of Michigan, where as a single-wing quarterback he primarily blocked for Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon. In 1941, Evashevski became football coach at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. He served in the Navy during World War II, then took assistant coaching jobs at Syracuse and Michigan State universities. He was head coach at Washington State University in 1950-51.

Evashevski was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Cordner Nelson

Co-founder of track publication

Cordner Nelson, 91, a writer and editor who co-founded Track & Field News, now considered the authoritative publication on the sport, died Oct. 26 at his home in Carmel after battling cancer, the magazine announced.

A San Diego native born Aug. 6, 1918, Nelson got his first taste of major track and field competition as a teenager while attending the 1932 Summer Olympics at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with his father and younger brother, Bert.

The brothers launched Track & Field News in 1948, with Cordner serving as editor and Bert handling the business side as publisher. Cordner Nelson reported on track meets, wrote about athletic training and techniques and compiled statistics. According to the International Assn. of Athletics Foundation, Track & Field News' lists of world rankings are now recognized as the definitive authority in the sport. Nelson stepped down as editor in 1970 but continued to write for the magazine, which calls itself "the bible of the sport."

Nelson also wrote books related to track and field, including such nonfiction offerings as "The Jim Ryun Story," about the notable U.S. miler, as well as the 1969 novel "The Miler."

Nelson covered every Olympics from 1952 through 2000, plus scores of major international competitions. He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1988.

A graduate of what is now the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Nelson served in the Army during World War II in China, Burma and India.

Nelson studied creative writing in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma for two years after the war until starting Track & Field News.

He is credited with inventing an early "fantasy sports" game based on track and field statistics that was devised at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

College Football Hall of Fame-- times staff and wire reports