PASSINGS: Dave Strack

Dave Strack, 90, a former University of Arizona athletic director who hired the first black basketball coach at a major university, died Saturday, university officials said. He was 90.

The cause of Strack's death at a Tucson assisted care facility was pneumonia, his son Dave Strack Jr. said, according to, a Michigan news website.

Shortly after taking the top job at Arizona in 1972, Strack made Fred Snowden the first African American basketball coach at an NCAA Division I school.

Strack later told the Tucson Citizen newspaper he made his selection to improve the basketball program, not to advance a social agenda. Tucson and basketball were both ready to have a black head coach, he said, adding that "Fred fit the bill and didn't disappoint anyone."

Snowden died of a heart attack in 1994.

Strack left the athletic director's job to become a physical education professor in 1982, in the wake of a scandal over the football program issuing improper payments to coaches, alumni and recruits.

From 1960 to 1968, Strack coached basketball at the University of Michigan. His team made it to the Final Four twice, in 1964 and 1965. In 1965, his players lost the NCAA championship game to John Wooden's UCLA squad.

Strack grew up in Shortridge, Ind., and played basketball at Michigan from 1943 to 1946. After coaching at Michigan, he was an administrator for four years until leaving for Arizona.

Times staff and wire reports

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