NEWPORT HARBOR, Calif. (AP)—Bill Rankin, a basketball star at UCLA during World War II and after, has died after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease. He was 84.
Rankin’s daughter, Cindy Elliott, told The Associated Press he died Sunday night at his home on Balboa Island.
Rankin played guard and forward under coach Wilbur Johns for the Bruins in 1945 and, with time out for the Navy, in 1946 and 1947.
After graduation, Rankin coached basketball at Westchester and Monroe High Schools in Los Angeles.
“He was my inspiration,” said former UCLA volleyball coach Al Scates, who played basketball under Rankin at Monroe High.
Rankin is survived by his widow Bette and his daughter, who said her father wanted no funeral. She quoted him as saying: “Let my friends raise a toast of beer or ice cream and shoot a few hoops.”
In lieu of flowers, the family said he requested donations to the American Parkinson’s Disease Foundation or the UCLA Foundation.
"Everything I know about coaching I learned from my high school coach, Bill Rankin, and from John Wooden. John is the greatest coach this country has ever produced. I would watch his practices and model my volleyball practices after his. I'd employ a variety of drills with quick switches from drill to drill, while giving directions quickly and succinctly without stopping the pace of the drill."
To Donate to the American Parkinson Disease Association you can go here.
Or you can visit this site to donate the UCLA Foundation.
He was a great player, a great coach and a great person. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Always sad to see a great Bruin pass away.