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Magee dies in crash

October 24, 2003

Kevin Magee, widely regarded as the greatest player in UC Irvine

men's basketball history, was killed in an auto accident on

Interstate 55, south of Amite, La., early Thursday morning while

returning home from his night shift as a warehouse supervisor. He was

44.

Magee played for Coach Bill Mulligan at UCI in the 1980-81 and

1981-82 seasons, averaging 26.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and shooting

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66% from the field. Magee was first-team Associated Press

All-American, first-team All-West Coast, and first-team All-District

8 both seasons as the Anteaters compiled a 40-17 record and advanced

to the second round of the 1982 NIT.

"Kevin was the best basketball player I ever coached," said

Mulligan, who guided UCI from 1980-91. "He is the only two-time,

first-team All-American we have had and he put UCI on the map. Kevin

was the primary reason that the Bren Events Center was built. He was

an amazing player and a really good friend."

He was the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (now Big West)

Player of the Year each of his two seasons and was named District 8

Most Valuable Player in 1982. He ranked in the nation's top 10 in

scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage both seasons.

Magee scored 31 points against Russia to lead the United States to

the gold medal at the 1981 World University Games in Bucharest,

Romania.

Magee holds the UCI single-game records of 46 points and 25

rebounds. He ranks fifth in career rebounding (690) and sixth in

scoring (1,475) at UCI. Magee's No. 44 is the only number retired in

UCI history and he was inducted into the UCI Hall of Fame in 1997.

Louisiana State Police said Magee's white Nissan four-door was

traveling north on I-55 at 5:20 a.m. local time, when it crossed a

grassy median, into the Southbound lanes, and was struck by a

southbound tractor-trailer. Magee was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the truck was hospitalized with minor injuries.

State Police said Magee lived in Summit, Miss., an estimated

30-minute drive from Amite.

Magee transferred to UCI after earning all-state and California

Community College Player of the Year honors at Saddleback College,

where he scored 1,341 points in two seasons.

"I had the privilege of knowing Kevin Magee as a shy young man

when he first arrived at Saddleback College," said Big West

Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell, who was the Saddleback

College sports information director when Magee played there. "It was

very rewarding to have watched him blossom as an athlete and into an

outstanding young man who became an important part of the Orange

County community."

"The Bren Events Center is a testament to Kevin Magee's impact on

the UC Irvine athletics program as well as the Orange County

community," said Big West Senior Associate Commissioner Rob Halvaks,

who was the UCI sports information director when Magee played for the

Anteaters. "His two years of play established UC Irvine as a Division

I basketball program."

Magee, who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of

the 1982 NBA draft, played professionally for 12 years in Italy,

France, Israel and Spain. He was born in Gary, Ind., and attended

South Pike High School in Magnolia, Miss.

Magee is survived by his wife, Melanie, and children Jeremy,

Brandy and Jacob. Brandy is a freshman starter on the University of

Texas women's volleyball team.

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