Yutaka Shimizu, who became a quiet institution among high school basketball coaches in Los Angeles during a career that began in 1959 and lasted the rest of his life, has died. He was 84.
Shimizu, who had a lung ailment, died Sunday at a Lakewood hospital, said Derrick Taylor, the Bellflower St. John Bosco coach with whom Shimizu continued to work.
He was the head coach at Hamilton High from 1959 to 1981, coaching future UCLA All-America Sidney Wicks and leading the team to a City Section runner-up finish in 1965. He was also head coach at Granada Hills Kennedy High from 1982 to 1999.
Later Shimizu became a trusted assistant coach and advisor to Taylor at Woodland Hills Taft and St. John Bosco, staying in the background while offering sage advice.
"He's the most underrated, great high school coach in our era," Taylor said. "No one understood how good a coach and how brilliant a basketball mind he is."
-- Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times