Posted on: February 15, 2010 9:26 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2010 12:13 am
Dana Kirk, who coached the Memphis Tigers to the 1985 Final Four before leaving the school amid controversy, died Monday night, multiple sources told CBSSports.com. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to The Commercial Appeal .
Kirk led Memphis -- then called Memphis State -- from 1979 to 1986. His record was 158-58 and highlighted by a trip to the 1985 Final Four, but his coaching career ended when the school dismissed him in September 1986, just two months before a federal grand jury indicted Kirk on 11 counts of tax evasion, filing a false income tax return, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. Kirk served four months in federal prison. The school was ultimately placed on two years probation because of several NCAA violations.
The 1985 Final Four was vacated.
"Dana was such an interesting fellow," John Wilfong, a guard on the 1985 Final Four team, told CBSSports.com on Monday night. "He was a good basketball coach, and it's just a shame what happened to him because the stuff he did -- or the stuff he was accused of doing -- he didn't really need to do. He could've had a 15-year or 20-year run at Memphis and just had incredible success, and I think he knew at the end of the day that he blew it, and that he would never get another chance. Matter of fact, he never got another chance."