Ernie Vandeweghe, a New York Knicks player in the post-World War II era and father of former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe and three other top athletes, has died at age 86, NBA official website reported.
The death was confirmed by Kiki Vandeweghe, who said his father died of natural causes at his home in Newport Beach.
Ernie Vandeweghe’s wife, Colleen, died in 2010. She won the 1952 Miss America pageant.
“He’s never really gone because the lessons are still there,” said Kiki Vandeweghe, who as a 5-year-old didn’t understand why his physician father would often be gone on weekends. “He used to take care of the athletes and their kids. I found out he never charged any of those people. When you can afford to give back, you do.”
The National Basketball Retired Players Association also expressed its condolences to Vandeweghe’s family and friends.
In his youth, Vandeweghe played football, basketball and baseball for Oceanside High School on Long Island where he was also a member of the Omega Gamma Delta Fraternity. A 6’3″ guard, Vandeweghe played collegiately for the Colgate University Raiders, where he was an All-American.
Vandeweghe was drafted by the New York Knicks in the 3rd round (32nd pick) of the 1949 BAA Draft. He played six years in the NBA, for the NY Knicks, and appeared in 224 games. He averaged career-high 12 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1952-53 season. He holds career average of 9.5 ppg.
After retiring from the NBA in 1956, Vandeweghe served as a physician for the Air Force. He also was the Lakers’ team physician when the team moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis.
Vandeweghe also served as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and served on the Olympic Sports Commission under President Gerald Ford, where he assisted with development of two key pieces of sports legislation – Title IX and the 1976 Amateur Athletic Act.
He has also been a senior vice president with Focus Partners LLC, a New-York-based financial services firm, and a consultant with the United States Golf and Fitness Association. He occasionally provided commentary for several sports publications.Follow @exnbadotcom
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