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.