OGDEN — Former Weber State men’s basketball coach Ron Abegglen died Wednesday night at the age of 81, the school announced Thursday.
Abegglen coached the Wildcats for eight seasons from 1991-99 to a record of 152-83, including the program’s last NCAA Tournament win. He won Big Sky championships in 1994, 1995 and 1999.
He also coached Morgan High’s boys team to a state championship in 1974.
Randy Rahe said he and Abegglen were friends even before Rahe became the head coach at WSU.
“When I got here, we made it a point to meet every so often and have lunch,” Rahe said Thursday. “I think Ron was a great guy and an absolutely tremendous basketball coach and did great things for Weber State. It’s really sad to see him pass.”
On the court, Abegglen was most known for his role in coaching Weber State’s two NCAA Tournament upset wins, first in 1995 by beating Michigan State in Tallahassee, Florida, and then in 1999 when beating North Carolina in Seattle. By seeding, both were 14-over-3 upsets.
Both teams were a play away from the Sweet 16. In 1995, Georgetown upended the Wildcats on a tip-in at the buzzer and, in 1999, WSU took Florida to overtime in the second round.
The program fell under two years of self-sanctioned probation over improper recruiting and tuition assistance in 1996. In July 1998, an incident in his office left his wife with a broken wrist and Abegglen with a protective order against him — an incident he told the Standard-Examiner was “an accident. It scared me and it scared her.”
After three weeks of administrative leave, Abegglen agreed to step down following the 1998-99 season with four years remaining on his contract.
He then went on to coach basketball in England for two years before retiring.
Abegglen was a native of Vernal, Utah, and played basketball at BYU. His first coaching job was at Morgan High, where he coached for 13 years, culminating in 1974’s 26-0 season and 2A state title. He also was a head coach at Snow College and Alaska-Anchorage before his hire at Weber State.
He coached Ruben Nembhard, Jimmy DeGraffenried and Harold Arceneaux to Big Sky MVP honors in his WSU tenure.
In August 2017, he helped coach at the second Weber State Alumni Classic and reflected on his time and some of those players.
“The things a lot of the players at Weber State did was commit to the school and the game itself,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for more than that. I’m fond of that. There’s a lot of them out here tonight who were great for this school.”
Upon his retirement, he spent much of his time in Fillmore, Utah, helping manage the Paradise Golf Resort, a course designed by one of his several golfing pro sons, Kris.
Abegglen’s funeral arrangements are pending.