Friday, December 21, 2018

In Memoriam: Mel Hutchins

Jay Drew, Salt Lake Tribune, Dec 21, 2018

Former BYU basketball standout Mel Hutchins, who led the Cougars to the NIT National Championship in 1951, died Wednesday, December 19, 2018, near his home in Encinitas, Calif., at the age of 90.

Hutchins (No. 14) and his former BYU teammate Roland Minson (No. 11) had their jerseys retired at the Marriott Center during a 2013 game against Portland.

“These players helped put BYU basketball on the map,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in the halftime ceremony.

When BYU won the 1951 NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York City, it was considered an equivalent to the NCAA tournament. Hutchins was also the MVP of the 1951 College All-Star Game.

The 6-foot-6 power forward and center was selected in the 1951 NBA draft and played in the league until 1958 with the Milwaukee Hawks, Fort Wayne Pistons and New York Knicks. He led the NBA in rebounding in 1951-52 as a rookie, with 13.3 per game.

He played in four NBA All-Star games, and finished fourth in the MVP voting in 1956.

Hutchins’ sister is 1952 Miss America winner Colleen Kay Hutchins, and he is the uncle of former two-time NBA All-Star Kiki Vandeweghe.

After his professional basketball career, Hutchins worked in real estate and became an avid golfer who competed in various high-level amateur tournaments in Northern California.

Hutchins was born in Sacramento and played high school basketball in Arcadia, Calif.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Vic Yanz Identified

Originally listed as "Vic Yanze," I couldn't find anything except a reference to playing basketball at Massachusetts State College. And then nothing else. Nothing in, either.... until today when I revisited him and tried again. This time, I found a reference to "Vic Yanz." No "E" at the end of his name, so that lead me onto a new direction. I found an obituary for "Vic Yanz" in the Chicago Tribune, which lead me back to Ancestry and his widow in the obit. I found that "Yanz" was shortened from Yozonaitis (or Yanzanaitis). Feeling confident, I got confirmation from a family member the this "Vic Yanz" did indeed play basketball, with a Lithuanian team around Chicago in the 30's. We found our guy. Not sure if he ever really did play at UMass or if it is just a mistake in the Sheboygan Press article.

Skeets Lonoff Identified

I have pretty much decided that the Newark Joe Fays (ABL) player previously listed as Al Lonoff is actually Abe Lonoff, Newark-area athlete and later businessman.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Bill Lane (Detroit Eagles 1940-41) Identified

Didn't have a lot on him before, but found his childhood address which lead to family members which lead to full name which lead to obituary.

William Bradfield Lane (1916-1997)


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

In Memoriam: Lou Decsi

Lou Decsi (1923-2018)



Louis Decsi, Jr., 95, passed away November 19, 2018 in Englewood Florida. He lived most of his life in Glastonbury, CT and 12 years in Old Saybrook, CT before moving to Englewood Fl.Raised in Akron Ohio, he served in the Navy for 3 years in WWII. He graduated from Bucknell University with a B.A. in Economics in 1948 attending Harvard University via its ROTC program and the Navy's V-12 program at Bucknell. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity at Bucknell and was captain of Bucknell's basketball team and co-captain of Harvard's basketball team that went to the NCAA basketball tournament held in Madison Square Gardens. He continued his basketball career professionally with the Sunbury Mercuries from Sunbury, PA and tried out for the Boston Celtics who sent him to their farm team, the Hartford Hurricanes, in Hartford, CT.He was an Assistant Treasurer of the Hartford Insurance Group and ITT Hartford, retiring after 37 ½ years of service. He was past president of the Hartford Insurance Group's Men's Club, captain of their All-Insurance Basketball Team and captain of their Men's All-Insurance Duckpin Bowling team. He was a past life member of Englewood's Elk's Club, a life member of VFW post 10420, a member of Rotunda American Legion and a member of Senior Friends.Lou was an avid golfer who golfed at least twice weekly into his early nineties (his years not his score!). He enjoyed playing cards, both bridge and poker. He and his wife of over 40 years, Ellen, loved to dance. Lou continued dancing after her passing, meeting his companion of over 10 years, Maye Pikiel of Rotunda, Florida. He leaves many dear friends in the community of Englewood, FL including Joe and Jean Demko, and Mickey and Beverly Beaudoin He leaves his children Mary-Kate Russell of Fort Lauderdale, FL; Michael Decsi of Whitehall, NY; and Brigid Nessing of Manchester, CT; and his grandchildren Frederick and Sarah Russell, Paul Decsi and Brian Nessing. There will be a mass in his remembrance at St Raphael's Church, Englewood Florida, Tuesday December 4 at 10AM. In lieu of flowers, donations made be made in Lou's memory to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association PO Box 417005 Boston, MA 02241-7005 or a charity of your choice.