Ned Wulk, an Arizona State University sports icon, died Saturday night at a group home in Tempe, a close friend of the legendary basketball coach said. Wulk had reportedly been suffering from a disease similar to Alzheimer's.
Evelyn Gilmartin, who was a close friend, said the coach's family members called to inform her about his death. However, she would not comment further.
Wulk, 83, coached the men's basketball team from 1957-82 and guided it to a 406-222 record and eight NCAA tournament appearances. Last spring he became the school's second inductee in the Pac-10 Conference's Hall of Honor. Guard Byron Scott was in the inaugural class. The court at ASU was renamed in his honor in 1999.
"We've lost one of our Sun Devil greats tonight, a legend in Sun Devil annals,'' said Mark Brand, assistant athletic director/media relations. "Ned helped put ASU on the national map, along with coaches such as Frank Kush, Bobby Winkles, Jim Brock and Baldy Castillo. He'll always be remembered by ASU faithful. He was a true friend and everyone at ASU will miss him.''
Wulk's teams captured two Border Conference titles and four Western Athletic Conference championships. Wulk's four Pac-10 teams went 75-39, twice finishing as the league runner-up. He was unexpectedly fired after his only losing season (13-14) in 1982 but not before upsetting unbeaten and top-ranked Oregon State in the final regular season game.
"I'm sorry to hear this,'' said Lafayette "Fat'' Lever, who became an All-Pac-10 guard under Wulk. "All my best to the family.''