Frank Burgess, Gonzaga University’s all-time leading basketball scorer and a U.S. District judge in Tacoma, died Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 75.
“Frank was a great Zag,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said in a press release. “He was one of our greatest fans and was a true friend. He had the opportunity to attend some games this year and he took great pride in Gonzaga. He will be missed.”
Burgess was diagnosed with cancer last year, according to a Gonzaga press release, and had reduced his workload recently. He continued working until a few weeks ago, when he was hospitalized, said Robert Lasnik, chief judge for the U.S. District Court for Western Washington.
He was transferred to a hospice care center Friday and died surrounded by his family, Lasnik said.
Burgess was an All-American who led NCAA Division I men’s basketball in scoring in 1961 with a 32.4 points-per-game average.
He was one of six former players and two coaches inducted into the inaugural West Coast Conference Hall of Honor in March 2009 in Las Vegas.
Burgess, from Eudora, Ark., came to Gonzaga out of the Air Force in 1958. At 6-foot-1, he led the Bulldogs in scoring for three seasons, compiling what remains a school-best 2,196 points in his three years. He scored more than 40 points in a game seven times, including a school-record 52 against UC Davis as a senior.
After two seasons with Hawaii in the professional American Basketball League, he returned to Gonzaga to attend law school and graduated near the top of his class. He had been a federal judge in Tacoma since his appointment in 1994 by President Clinton.
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