Walt Hirsch, three-time national champion, passes away - On3
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Walt Hirsch, three-time national champion, passes away

Article written by:Tyler ThompsonTyler Thompson


Photo via UK Athletics

Only one player in Kentucky Basketball history has been a member of three national championship squads. Walter “Walt” Hirsch, who played for Adolph Rupp from 1948-51, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92. He was on the 1948, 1949, and 1951 title teams. In addition to basketball, Hirsch was a first baseman on Kentucky’s baseball team.

A 6’4″ forward, Hirsch played in 13 games for the 1948 champions, scoring 37 total points. He averaged 4.6 points in 34 appearances for the 1949 title winners and played in 30 games during the 1951 season, averaging 9.1 points per game. He was ineligible to compete in the NCAA Tournament that season as a four-year varsity player per NCAA rules at that time.

In 1950, his lone year without a title, Hirsch was named Second Team All-SEC after averaging 9.9 points per game. Over his four-year career, he played in 107 games and scored 764 points. After college, Hirsch joined the Army during the Korean War. Upon completion of his service, he worked at the Rath Packing Company in Waterloo, Iowa.

Hirsch is survived by his two daughters, Pam and Nancy, and a grandson, Colin. He was preceded in death by his wife, Vicki. A public funeral service will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Belmond, Iowa. For more details on arrangements, visit UKAthletics.com.

In 2018, Hirsch sat down with Kyle Macy to discuss his career at Kentucky and what it was like to balance two sports and school. You can view the interview at KentuckyOralHistory.org.

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