2013: Don Hegerle, 82, Player and Coach

Don Hegerle, a leader and playmaker for 1950s San Diego State basketball teams and who later coached at Escondido High, passed away on Sept. 9.

Hegerle, 82, was a fast, slashing guard who fearlessly drove to the basket and fired jump shots for one of the best teams in Aztecs history.

 Hegerle is the third  second player to coach George (Ziggy) Ziegenfuss.  Clockwise from left other 1955-56 players are Rich Gehring, Al ordquist, Tony Pinkins, Ray Woodmaansee, Jim Sams, Bob Adams, Danny Newport, Archie Rambeau and Noel Mickelson (in front of Hegerle).

Hegerle is  second player to right of coach George (Ziggy) Ziegenfuss. Clockwise from left other 1955-56 players are Rich Gehring, Al Nordquist, Tony Pinkins, Danny Newport, Jim Sams, Bob Adams, Archie Rambeau, John Hannon, Ray Woodmansee, and Noel Mickelson, in front of Hegerle.

He was a vital player on the 1955-56 Aztec team that overcame three straight losses at the start of the season and went on to post a 23-6 record.

Hegerle averaged 10.9 points and scored 315 points, third highest on the team, which was paced by Tony Pinkins (18.1) and Danny Newport (14.7).

The Aztecs earned a berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament in Kansas City by defeating Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, 93-69, Pasadena Nazarene, 78-62, and Humboldt State, 91-63.

After enduring a 30-hour trip to the Midwest by rail, the Aztecs’ opening contest following a first-day bye had a 10:30 a.m. tipoff.  They defeated Alderson-Broaddus of Philipi, W.Va, 77-64.

San Diego State’s season came to an end in another contest that began the next morning.  The Aztecs were eliminated by Gustavus-Adolphus of St. Peter, Minnesota, 69-60.

Hegerle, who played high school football, basketball, and baseball at Point Loma, was head coach at Escondido for five seasons before going into administration.

The 1957-58 team, paced by brothers Toby and Steve Thurlow and Jim Gabbard, posted a 20-11 season  and tied for the Avocado League championship.

Hegerle’s overall record with the Cougars was 73-50.

A lifelong basketball fan, Hegerle’s favorite team became the University of San Diego Toreros.  His son-in-law is Ky Snyder, athletics director at USD.  Snyder’s wife, Sue, was a standout in track and field at San Pasqual and later the women’s volleyball coach at USD.

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4 Responses to 2013: Don Hegerle, 82, Player and Coach

  1. Roger Conlee says:

    One night eight or nine years ago I was leaving the Aztec parking garage when a man came alongside and asked if I could tell him where Cox Arena was. I said I was going there so, “Walk with me.” He said he’d played basketball for the Aztecs quite awhile ago but hadn’t been to the new arena yet. I asked his name and he said, “Don Hegerle.” I said, “Oh sure, I remember you,” and we had a pleasant conversation crossing 55th Street and approaching Cox.

    • Rick says:

      Great story, Roger. I think you had fun traipsing up 395 to cover Escondido High games as the “County” prep writer for the Evening Tribune back in the day. I remember a game in the Cougars’ old gym, which had a stage at one end. It was ’58-59, Escondido’s first year in the Metropolitan League after elevating from the Avocado League. Hegerle had a good club but Sweetwater pulled out a victory by three or four points.

  2. Boydd Galland says:

    I played against Don in the Escondido City League in 1970 and he could still hit that deadly jump shot from 20 feet. Rest in Peace Don
    Boydd Galland —- San Dieguito and Palomar College

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