UCLA great Walt Hazzard passes away

Former UCLA basketball great Walt Hazzard passed away Friday due to complications following heart surgery.

He was 69 years old.

Hazzard played at Overbook High School in Philadelphia, PA before spending a year at Santa Monica College. He then transferred to UCLA and led the Bruins to their first national championship under head coach John Wooden in 1964, the year he was named college basketball's Player of the Year.

"This is a sad day for the UCLA basketball family," said Bruin athletic director Dan Guerrero. "Walt was the catalyst for coach John Wooden's first championship team and played the game with a style that excited Bruin basketball fans everywhere."

The Wilmington, DE native helped the United States win Olympic Gold in 1964 and played 10 years in the NBA with Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Buffalo and Golden State.

"Walt was a man of extremely high character, who served the Lakers for many years as a player, a scout and a consultant," said Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. "Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time, and we feel fortunate that he was part of the Lakers family for so many years."

In 1984, Hazzard began a four-year reign as head coach of UCLA and led the program to an National Invitation Tournament championship in 1985.

He is just one of seven men's basketball players to have his uniform number retired at UCLA.