Former UA athletic director Strack, 90, dies; Ushered Arizona into Pac-10

2014-01-26T10:30:00Z 2014-01-26T14:13:27Z Former UA athletic director Strack, 90, dies; Ushered Arizona into Pac-10Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 26, 2014 10:30 am  • 

Dave Strack, the UA athletic director who ushered Arizona into the Pac-10 Conference and hired the first black basketball coach at a major university, has died. He was 90.

Strack's passing was announced Saturday by the University of Michigan, where Strack played basketball and served as head coach before moving into administration.

UA athletic director Greg Byrne said today that he was "saddened to hear of Dave Strack’s passing.”

“He was a forward-thinking administrator, who did a lot for the University of Arizona and its athletics department," Byrne said. "We send our condolences to Dave’s family and friends.”

As Arizona's athletic director from 1972-83, Strack ushered the Wildcats into the Pac-10 Conference from the Western Athletic Conference, moved into McKale Center, build Kindall/Sancet Stadium and expanded Arizona Stadium. Strack hired football coaches Jim Young and Larry Smith, promoted future Hall of Famers Dave Murray (track and field) and Rick LaRose (golf) and brought in two administrators, Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose and John Perrin, who would remain at the UA for decades.

But it was his hiring of Fred Snowden, the first African-American head coach at a major university, that made headlines.

"People wanted me to hire Jerry Tarkanian when we moved into McKale Center," Strack told the Star's Greg Hansen last year. "But I hired Fred Snowden. It wasn't about breaking the color barrier, it was because I believed Fred could rebuild our basketball program faster than Tark could. And he did, too. Ha, ha, ha, ha. …

"He got (Eric) Money and Coniel (Norman), and it was built, almost overnight."

When Snowden left, Strack hired Ben Lindsey away from Grand Canyon. Lindsey lasted just one year before the UA turned to Iowa coach Lute Olson to revive the basketball program. Strack was gone by then, too.

Strack spent his retirement in Tucson. Services are pending. 

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 0 0 0 0.000 12 0 0 1.000
California 0 0 0 0.000 10 1 0 0.909
Washington 0 0 0 0.000 9 0 0 1.000
UCLA 0 0 0 0.000 8 3 0 0.727
Oregon 0 0 0 0.000 7 3 0 0.700
Oregon State 0 0 0 0.000 7 2 0 0.778
Utah 0 0 0 0.000 7 2 0 0.778
Arizona State 0 0 0 0.000 6 4 0 0.600
Stanford 0 0 0 0.000 6 2 0 0.750
Colorado 0 0 0 0.000 6 3 0 0.667
USC 0 0 0 0.000 6 4 0 0.600
Washington State 0 0 0 0.000 4 6 0 0.400

AP Top 25


Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Eastern Washington at
California
12/19 67-78
Arizona at
UTEP
12/19 60-55
Delaware State at
Oregon
12/20 1:00 pm
Lehigh at
Arizona State
12/20 7:00 pm
Oklahoma at
Washington
12/20 7:00 pm
USC at
Boston College
12/21 2:00 pm
DePaul at
Colorado
12/22 2:30 pm
UC-Santa Barbara at
Oregon
12/22 7:00 pm
Tulane at
Washington
12/22 9:00 pm
Detroit at
Arizona State
12/23 1:00 pm
Stanford at
Texas
12/23 5:00 pm
South Dakota State at
Utah
12/23 7:00 pm
Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...