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Hank Anderson

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Hank Anderson

Hank Anderson
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1920-12-05)December 5, 1920
Milton-Freewater, Oregon
Died September 5, 2005(2005-09-05) (aged 84)
Gig Harbor, Washington
Alma mater University of Oregon, 1941
Playing career
Eastern Oregon Normal
Position(s) Forward
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Baker HS (OR)
Baker HS (OR)
Medford HS (OR)
Grants Pass HS (OR)
Montana State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
Northern Arizona
Head coaching record
Overall 318–299 (.515)
Accomplishments and honors
Big Sky co-champions, 1966, 1967
Big Sky Coach of the Year, 1966

Thor Henry "Hank" Anderson (December 5, 1920 – September 5, 2005) was a college basketball coach and athletic director. He was the head coach at Gonzaga University for 21 seasons, from 1951 to 1972. While at Gonzaga, he compiled a 290–275 (.513) record.[1][2] Anderson later coached two seasons at Montana State University at 28–24 (.538) for a career record of 318–299 (.515). He finished his career in college athletics as the AD at Northern Arizona University.

Early years

Born in Milton-Freewater in eastern Oregon, Anderson graduated from Burns High School in Burns at age 16 in 1937 and then played college basketball for Eastern Oregon Normal School in La Grande. After two years he transferred to the University of Oregon in Eugene, and was a 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) forward for the Ducks under head coach Howard Hobson.[3]

High school coach

Anderson earned his bachelor's degree in 1941 at age 20, and was in graduate school in Eugene when he accepted his first head coaching job at Baker High School in eastern Oregon that October.[4]

He served as an officer in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II and returned to Baker in 1945, then moved to western Oregon at Medford in 1946 and Grants Pass in 1947.[5][6] His 1950 team was state runner-up and he had a career prep record of 167–43 (.795)[7] prior to taking the Gonzaga job in April 1951 at age 30.

College coach and administrator

Gonzaga's previous head coach, L. T. Underwood, finished the 1951 season at 8–22 (.267) and resigned after just two years with the Bulldogs. Anderson's first team was much improved in 1952 at 19–16 (.543), and after two seasons, he took on the added role of athletic director in 1953. The program elevated to NCAA Division I in 1958, joined the Big Sky Conference as a charter member in 1963, and opened the on-campus Kennedy Pavilion in 1965.[1][8] Anderson was Big Sky coach of the year in 1966, and stepped down as AD in 1972, then surprisingly left several weeks later to become head coach at Montana State in Bozeman, a conference rival.[7] He spent two seasons at MSU, then departed for another Big Sky school in 1974 to become the athletic director at Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Anderson oversaw the building of the Walkup Skydome and was also on the board of directors of the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe; he stayed at NAU nearly a decade and retired at the end of 1983 at age 63.[9]

Later life

Anderson then moved to Las Vegas in 1984 to work in minor league baseball for the Las Vegas Stars. The team, formerly the Spokane Indians from 1973 to 1982, and was headed by Larry Koentopp, the former Gonzaga baseball coach (hired by Anderson in 1969 and his successor as GU athletic director in 1972).[10][11]

Anderson and his wife Betty, married in 1943, later retired to Gig Harbor, Washington. He died in September 2005 at age 84 of an aortic aneurysm in Gig Harbor.[12]

College head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Gonzaga Bulldogs (Independent) (1951–1963)
1951–52 Gonzaga 19–16
1952–53 Gonzaga 15–14
1953–54 Gonzaga 12–16
1954–55 Gonzaga 16–13
1955–56 Gonzaga 13–15
1956–57 Gonzaga 11–16
1957–58 Gonzaga 16–10
1958–59 Gonzaga 11–15
1959–60 Gonzaga 14–12
1960–61 Gonzaga 11–15
1961–62 Gonzaga 14–12
1962–63 Gonzaga 14–12
Gonzaga Bulldogs (Big Sky) (1963–1972)
1963–64 Gonzaga 10–15 5–5 T-3rd
1964–65 Gonzaga 18–8 6–4 T-2nd
1965–66 Gonzaga 19–7 8–2 T-1st
1966–67 Gonzaga 20–6 7–3 T-1st
1967–68 Gonzaga 9–17 6–9 T-4th
1968–69 Gonzaga 11–15 6–9 T-3rd
1969–70 Gonzaga 10–16 7–8 3rd
1970–71 Gonzaga 13–13 6–8 T-5th
1971–72 Gonzaga 14–12 8–6 T-2nd
Gonzaga: 290–275 (.513) 59–54 (.522)
Montana State Bobcats (Big Sky) (1972–1974)
1972–73 Montana State 17–9 9–5 3rd
1973–74 Montana State 11–15 5–9 T-6th
Montana State: 28–24 (.538) 14–14 (.500)
Total: 318–299 (.515)

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ a b Blanchette, John (September 7, 2005). "Zags couldn't have danced without Hank". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  2. ^ Gonzaga Basketball History - Page 51 of 62
  3. ^ Blanchette, John (September 6, 2005). "Former GU coach Anderson dead at 84". Spokesman-REview. p. C1. 
  4. ^ "Baker signs Hank Anderson". Eugene Register-Guard. United Press. October 28, 1941. p. 8. 
  5. ^ "Grants Pass has top season mark". Eugene Register-Guard. March 13, 1950. p. 8. 
  6. ^ "Anderson considered for Gonzaga vacancy". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 6, 1951. p. 11. 
  7. ^ a b "Anderson selected MSU court coach". Spokesman-Review. March 25, 1972. p. 12. 
  8. ^ Missildine, Harry (May 21, 1965). "Kennedy Pavilion heralds modern Gonzaga sports era". Spokesman-Review. p. 28. 
  9. ^ "Ex-Gonzaga AD plans retirement". Spokesman-Review. June 26, 1983. p. D2. 
  10. ^ Blanchette, John (January 13, 1984). "Hank moves on, with nothing up his sleeves". Spokesman-Review. p. 19. 
  11. ^ "Koentopp given AD post". Spokesman-Review. April 6, 1972. p. 46. 
  12. ^ "Former Gonzaga hoops coach Hank Anderson dies". Seattle Times. Associated Press. September 6, 2005. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 

External links

  • Sports Reference – coaching record – Hank Anderson
  • Gonzaga University Digital Collections – Hank Anderson
  • Hank Anderson at Find a Grave
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