Ogden • Ron Abegglen, the former Weber State men’s basketball coach who led the Wildcats to a pair of huge upsets in the NCAA Tournament, died late Wednesday at 81.
Abegglen coached Weber State from 1991 to 1999, posting a career record of 152-83 during his eight seasons. That stands as the third-most wins in WSU history.
His teams won 20 or more games in five of his eight seasons, and he led the Wildcats to Big Sky titles in 1994, 1995 and 1999.
However, Abegglen was best known for two NCAA Tournament upsets. In 1995, he guided the No. 14 seed Wildcats to a 79-72 win over Michigan State. The Wildcats lost by two points on a buzzer-beater to Georgetown in the second round.
In 1999, he coached the Wildcats, led by Harold Arceneaux and Eddie Gill, to a thrilling 76-74 upset win over North Carolina, a victory that made the Wildcats the biggest story in the tournament for a couple of weeks. Weber State came back and lost in overtime to Florida in the second round.
He coached three players, Ruben Nembhard, Jimmy DeGraffenried and Arceneaux to Big Sky MVP honors and had numerous all-conference players. He was inducted into the Weber State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
Abegglen’s Weber State career was troubled towards the end. In 1996, the Wildcats were hit with NCAA penalties, including recruiting, tuition and travel violations. Two years later, Abegglen was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife which eventually led to his being placed on administrative leave by the university. Abegglen was reinstated after three weeks and coached Weber during the 1998-99 season, but stepped down at the end of the campaign.
Abegglen, a Vernal native, graduated from Uintah High School and went on to a four-year playing career at BYU. His first head coaching job came at Morgan High, where he spent 13 seasons. In his final season, the Trojans finished with a perfect 26-0 record and won a 2A state championship.
Abegglen went on to coach at Snow College, then moved to Alaska-Anchorage, where he was an assistant and later the head coach. Abegglen returned to Utah in 1991 to become Weber State’s head coach.
After leaving WSU, Abegglen coached for two seasons for the London Tower of the British Basketball League. He retired from coaching after that and pursued his first love — golf. Settling in Fillmore, he became the club pro at Paradise Golf Course.