Red Rocha, Men's Basketball Legend, Passes Away at 86

Feb. 14, 2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Ephraim 'Red' Rocha, a former Oregon State men's basketball star, died Saturday at his home in Corvallis after a three-year battle with cancer, the school announced on Friday. He was 86.

Rocha was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, and played at Hawaii before transferring to OSU. A 6-foot-9 forward/center, he was a three-time Pacific Coast Conference all-star and was named an All-American in 1947 while leading the Beavers to the NCAA tournament.

He then played in the NBA for several teams and coached the Detroit Pistons from 1958 to 1960. He then coached at Hawaii, led the team to an NIT and NCAA tournament, and was 112-136 in 10 seasons.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Rocha played professional basketball, and represented the Baltimore Bullets in the first NBA All-Star Game in 1951. He won a championship with the Syracuse Nationals in 1955. He scored 6,362 points in his playing career. He served as coach for the Detroit Pistons from 1958 to 1960.

Rocha was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame, the Pac-10 Hall of Honor, the WAC Court of Honor and the University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor.

Rocha is survived by his daughters, Kay Mosher, Cheryl Narver and Terry Bannon; nine grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren; seven great-great grandchildren, and by partner Molly Bloomfield.

Services are Feb. 20 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, with a celebration of life to follow at The Club House at Adair Village.

Information from Oregon State University, the Corvallis Gazette-Times and the Honolulu Advertiser were used in this report.

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