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George Irvine, former UW star and NBA coach, dies after battle with cancer

A Ballard High School graduate, Irvine was one of 11 players selected to the Huskies’ All-Century Team in 2002.

George Irvine, one of the greatest shooters in the history of University of Washington basketball, has died after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 69.

A 1966 graduate of Ballard High School, Irvine was drafted by the NBA’s Seattle Sonics and the ABA’s Virginia Squires. He signed with the Squires and played five years in Virginia in the 1970s, playing alongside the likes of Julius “Dr J” Erving and George Gervin.

In 1980, Irvine began a 25-year career as an NBA coach, scout and executive, mostly with the Indiana Pacers. He had three stints as an NBA head coach — with the Pacers from 1984-86, and again in ’88, and also with the Detroit Pistons in 2000-2001.

“George Irvine brought me to Indiana and in my mind he was the beginning of NBA basketball with the Pacers in our building process for the years to come,” former Pacers president and general manager Donnie Walsh said in a statement. “He had a great basketball mind, which allowed him to function at a high level as a coach, administrator and purveyor of talent. George was a once-in-a-lifetime friend and one of the best men in my life.”

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At UW, Irvine was a three-year starter from 1968-70, leading the Huskies in scoring as a junior and senior. He was twice named to the all-Pac-8 team. His 1,314 career points ranked fifth all-time in UW history when he graduated, and his career scoring average of 16.8 points still ranks seventh all-time.

Nicknamed “Hawkeye” for his sharp shooting, Irvine shot 55.8 percent from the field (499-for-894) during his career, which still ranks fifth on the school’s career list.

In a 2002 fan vote, Irvine was one of 11 players selected to the Huskies’ All-Century Team.

In 2010,…

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