Bob Houbregs, former UW men's basketball star, dies at age 82

Staff writerMay 28, 2014 

William Henry Harrison Dye and Bob Houbregs

Washington Coach Tippy Dye gives strategy talk to Husky star Bob Houbregs during western regional NCAA first-round game with Seattle University in Corvallis, Ore., on March 13, 1953. Houbregs went on to score 45 points a new tourney record in the game, sparking his team to a 92-70 victory. (AP Photo/Ed Johnson)


Bob Houbregs, the former Washington Huskies basketball star whose jersey hangs from the Hec Edmundson Pavilion rafters, died Wednesday morning, a school spokesperson confirmed. He was 82.

Houbregs, a native of Vancouver, B.C., attended Queen Anne High School in Seattle and played at UW from 1951 to 1953. He is recognized as one of the best players in school history. A 6-foot-7 center, his 1,774 career points rank fifth all-time at UW, and he holds school records for points in a game (49 against Idaho in 1953) and points in a season (846 total and 25.6 per game in 1953). He also ranks second in school history in career scoring average (19.5 points per game).

That 1952-53 UW team remains the only in school history to advance to the Final Four, finishing with a record of 28-3. For his efforts that season, Houbregs was named NCAA Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American.

Houbregs, nicknamed “Hooks” after his famed hook shot, was also the first UW player to have his jersey retired. His No. 25 and Brandon Roy’s No. 3 are the only men’s basketball jerseys hanging in the Hec Ed rafters.

Another distinction held by Houbregs: He’s still the highest-drafted player in UW’s history, going No. 3 overall to the Milwaukee Hawks in 1953. Houbregs played five seasons total for four different NBA teams before retiring. He returned to Seattle as general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1970-73, and is a member of the Husky Hall of Fame (1979), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1987) and the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame (2000).

Until health problems cut into his attendance, Houbregs was a regular at UW basketball games, and was often shown on the television broadcast or the arena’s scoreboard screen.

We will update as more information becomes available.

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