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Former BYU Basketball Coach Tony Ingle Passes Away From COVID-19 Complications

Last year's interim coach Tony Ingle takes in the BYU game against Wyoming (File Photo: Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Former BYU basketball interim head coach and assistant Tony Ingle passed away. He was 68 years old.

On December 28th, Ingle tested positive for COVID-19, and on January 8, he was placed on a ventilator.

Ingle’s son, Izzy, a head coach at Timpanogos High School, announced his father’s passing on January 18th on social media.

The always quick-witted Ingle coached at BYU from 1989 to 1996. He became the interim head coach at BYU in 1996 after Roger Reid was fired and assistant Lynn Archibald resigned. Ingle, didn’t have to be the interim coach, but he stepped up for BYU in one of their toughest times.

Despite the 0-19 record, Ingle gained popularity among the fan base during that 1-25 season in 1996-97. His teams played hard, and they were getting better over the course of the season. Despite his best efforts, Ingle was not given a fair chance by BYU’s administration at the time to secure the head coach position.

After his time at BYU, Ingle lived up to the book title he penned, “I Don’t Mind Hitting Bottom, I Just Hate Dragging.” Coach Ingle didn’t let the 0-19 mark impact his coaching career. He went on to find championship success post-BYU.

He was an NBA scout with the Utah Jazz during the team’s zenith from 1997-99. Then coach Ingle became a head coach again at Division II Kennesaw State. In his fourth season with the Owls, he led Kennesaw State to a Division II National Championship.

Ingle helped transition Kennesaw State from Division II to Division I and later became the head coach at Dalton State College.

Legends of basketball knew Tony Ingle was a great man and coach

Former UCLA legend John Wooden once said about Ingle, “Any parent should be proud to have their children under the supervision of a coach who truly cares for them, both on and off the basketball court. Tony Ingle knows the sport of basketball, but, more importantly, he understands that it is just a game and the participants’ total growth is more important than scores. Sports need more coaches like Tony Ingle.”

I personally had the chance to interact with coach Ingle during my radio career at a Utah Valley radio station. Coach Ingle had a wealth of knowledge on the game of basketball, his one-liners were legendary, and his recruiting stories were always amazing. He will be truly missed.

Coach Ingle is survived by his wife Jeanne and five children. Ingle’s five children are Elliott, Sunshine, “Izzy,” Tony Ingle Jr., and Golden. When they were kids, Ingle and his five children ran a basketball-skills show called “Little Nuggets.” During halftime shows at basketball games, they would perform when Ingle was coaching at Gordon Junior College in Georgia.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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