Houbregs died Wednesday morning, details of his death were not immediately available. Houbregs had been in failing health in recent years after suffering a debilitating fall at his home in Olympia.
Houbregs, a 6-foot-7 hook shot specialist, led Washington to its only Final Four appearance in 1953, capping his stellar college career.
He was the national player of the year and an All-American in 1953, and also was an all-Pacific Coast Conference selection from 1951-53.
Born March 12, 1932 in Vancouver, B.C., Houbregs attended Queen Anne High School, where he starred in basketball and baseball, as an All-City first baseman. Although recruited by dozens of colleges, Houbregs always knew which university he would attend.
“My dad always told me I had no choice,” Houbregs told Sportspress Northwest in 2011. “I was going to be a Husky and that was fine with me. My dad told me if I was going to live in Seattle, there was nowhere else to go. So I never looked to go anywhere else. I’m glad I didn’t.”
Houbregs was Washington’s leading scorer from the end of his career until the 1980’s. During the latter stages of the 1952-53 season, Houbregs established himself as a strong candidate for NCAA Player of the Year
Houbregs was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1953 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Hawks and also played for the Baltimore Bullets, Boston Celtics and Fort Wayne Pistons during his five-year career. He averaged 9.3 ppg and 5.5 rpg in 23.9 mpg, playing 281 games in the NBA, and retiring due to knee injuries.
Houbregs also served as general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1970-73. Up until the time his health began to deteriorate, Houbregs was a frequent attendee at Huskies basketball games and always made himself available to reporters interested in Huskies hoops lore.
Houbregs was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame (1987), State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame (1969), Husky Hall of Fame (1979) and Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame (2000). He is the principal reason the 1953 Huskies are the only basketball team in school history memorialized in the UW Hall of Fame (1985).Follow @exnbadotcom
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