Former UCLA star Rankin dead at 84

Updated: May 12, 2008, 9:55 PM ET
Associated Press

NEWPORT HARBOR, Calif. -- 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 UCLA men's volleyball coach Al Scates, who played basketball under Rankin at Westchester 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.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press