Dan Ayala, who coached at Mt. San Jacinto and Pasadena colleges, passed away September 17 due to complications from a heart condition. He was 82. Ayala succeeded the legendary Jerry Tarkanian as PCC head coach and won a state title in his debut in 1969.
Ayala coached Pasadena for three seasons (1968-1971), compiling a 70-21 record (.769 winning percentage). In the '68-69 season, he directed team scoring leader and future PCC Sports Hall of Fame player George Trapp as he helped the Lancers win the Metropolitan Conference title and then the state crown behind a 27-5 overall record. PCC defeated Imperial Valley, 68-52, in the championship game at Fresno's Selland Arena. Trapp was named MVP of the state tourney and later went on to play in the NBA. Teammate Steve Rostker also was named to the All-State Tournament team.
It was an amazing third straight state final for Pasadena as it won the state title in 1967 and lost the '68 final in triple overtime vs. Cerritos, both years under Tarkanian. Ayala continued that period of success the following season to return the state trophy back to Pasadena.
Ayala moved on from Pasadena to become head coach for two seasons at Cal Poly Pomona, posting a 27-22 overall record from 1971-1973. From 1975-1980, Ayala was a highly succesful head coach of the women's basketball team at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. In his five seasons, he totaled a sparkling 109-23 winning record (.827) and guided the Lady Rebels to four straight appearances in the AIAW Regionals.
Prior to Pasadena, he also coached at Mt. San Jacinto College men's basketball for three seasons, compiling a 57-18 mark. His combined record in men's/women's college basketball was 263-84, an outstanding .758 winning percentage. He also served as an assistant coach to Tarkanian on the UNLV men's side in 1973-75.
Ayala made Las Vegas his home even after his retirement from coaching. He is survived by his wife, of 31 years, Donna Ayala; his sister, Rita (George) Valdez; brother, Paul (Maria) Ayala; his five sons, Brian Ayala, Steve Ayala, Randy Ayala, Danny (Nancy) Ayala and David Ayala; daughter, Christi (Richard) Powell; and his ten grandchildren. Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, September 27 at Palm Mortuary, 1600 S. Jones Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89146.
(Editor's Note--some information in release updated from a report in Las Vegas Review-Journal and UNLV athletics)