Former Louisville star and record-holder Tyra dies

Updated: December 31, 2006, 10:37 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Charlie Tyra, the University of Louisville's first All-American, died Friday at the Franciscan Health Care Center in Louisville, Ky.

Tyra, 71, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure more than two years ago, his son, Charlie Jr., told the Louisville Courier-Journal. He had been at Franciscan about 10 days.

In 1956, Tyra was the Most Valuable Player in the National Invitation Tournament. He averaged 24 points and 18 rebounds as Louisville swept to the title. He made All-America that season and again the following year.

He still owns school records for the most rebounds for a game (38), season (645) and career (1,617). He also ranks fourth in career scoring average (18.2).

"He was the first great player at U of L," coach Rick Pitino told the newspaper.

Tyra played five-plus seasons in the pros, mostly with the New York Knicks. In his best season he averaged 12.8 points a game.

His No. 8 is one of only four retired by Louisville.