Kevin Magee, widely regarded as the greatest player in UC Irvine
men's basketball history, was killed in an auto accident on
Interstate 55, south of Amite, La., early Thursday morning while
returning home from his night shift as a warehouse supervisor. He was
Magee played for Coach Bill Mulligan at UCI in the 1980-81 and
1981-82 seasons, averaging 26.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and shooting
66% from the field. Magee was first-team Associated Press
All-American, first-team All-West Coast, and first-team All-District
8 both seasons as the Anteaters compiled a 40-17 record and advanced
to the second round of the 1982 NIT.
"Kevin was the best basketball player I ever coached," said
Mulligan, who guided UCI from 1980-91. "He is the only two-time,
first-team All-American we have had and he put UCI on the map. Kevin
was the primary reason that the Bren Events Center was built. He was
an amazing player and a really good friend."
He was the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (now Big West)
Player of the Year each of his two seasons and was named District 8
Most Valuable Player in 1982. He ranked in the nation's top 10 in
scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage both seasons.
Magee scored 31 points against Russia to lead the United States to
the gold medal at the 1981 World University Games in Bucharest,
Magee holds the UCI single-game records of 46 points and 25
rebounds. He ranks fifth in career rebounding (690) and sixth in
scoring (1,475) at UCI. Magee's No. 44 is the only number retired in
UCI history and he was inducted into the UCI Hall of Fame in 1997.
Louisiana State Police said Magee's white Nissan four-door was
traveling north on I-55 at 5:20 a.m. local time, when it crossed a
grassy median, into the Southbound lanes, and was struck by a
southbound tractor-trailer. Magee was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the truck was hospitalized with minor injuries.
State Police said Magee lived in Summit, Miss., an estimated
30-minute drive from Amite.
Magee transferred to UCI after earning all-state and California
Community College Player of the Year honors at Saddleback College,
where he scored 1,341 points in two seasons.
"I had the privilege of knowing Kevin Magee as a shy young man
when he first arrived at Saddleback College," said Big West
Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell, who was the Saddleback
College sports information director when Magee played there. "It was
very rewarding to have watched him blossom as an athlete and into an
outstanding young man who became an important part of the Orange
"The Bren Events Center is a testament to Kevin Magee's impact on
the UC Irvine athletics program as well as the Orange County
community," said Big West Senior Associate Commissioner Rob Halvaks,
who was the UCI sports information director when Magee played for the
Anteaters. "His two years of play established UC Irvine as a Division
I basketball program."
Magee, who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of
the 1982 NBA draft, played professionally for 12 years in Italy,
France, Israel and Spain. He was born in Gary, Ind., and attended
South Pike High School in Magnolia, Miss.
Magee is survived by his wife, Melanie, and children Jeremy,
Brandy and Jacob. Brandy is a freshman starter on the University of
Texas women's volleyball team.