Former Navy men's, women's coach Smalley dies

Updated: June 2, 2007, 1:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Navy men's and women's basketball coach Dave Smalley died on Friday of complications from cancer, his son told The Baltimore Sun. He was 72.

Smalley died at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md., where he had been hospitalized since Tuesday, the newspaper reported. A blood clot was detected in his brain and he lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered. The clot was inoperable because of the cancer Smalley had been fighting for six years, his eldest son, David Smalley, told the newspaper.

Smalley, a Baltimore native, spent 50 years at the Naval Academy, first as a star baseball and basketball player and then as a basketball coach and administrator.

A two-time basketball captain, Smalley was named head coach in 1967 and compiled a record of 94-130 over 10 seasons. In 1977, as women were being admitted to the academy for the first time, he became the first coach of the women's program, posting a 178-118 record over 12 seasons.

Smalley stepped down from coaching in 1989 and became senior associate athletic director at Navy, overseeing admissions and assisting student-athletes.

"I think the one big thing he represented to a large number of people was opportunity," David Smalley told the Sun, "whether it was his kids or the kids he mentored through the academy processes."

The Academy named the the basketball floor at Alumni Hall after Smalley last year, and three weeks ago he was inducted into the Maryland State Hall of Fame, the newspaper reported.

"He was a mountain of integrity," Jane Good, a professor and colleague of Smalley's at the academy for 28 years, told The Sun. "He embodied everything you want the academy to embody in terms of honor and love of sports."