Bob Speidel, the longtime basketball coach of Helix High School who helped lead Bill Walton and crew to section championships in 1964 and 1966, died on Jan. 6 after a battle with lung cancer. He was 80.
Speidel coached the Walton, the NBA Hall of Famer, and other blue chip prospects during his time at Helix.
A report in UT San Diego said that Speidel modeled his coaching philosophy after UCLA's John Wooden, and practiced the "Pyramid of Success," adopting the Bruins offensive and defensive schemes.
Roy Gayhart, who played for Speidel, told the paper that he was much more than just a basketball coach to him.
“He was a great coach, but more importantly (like Wooden), he was a great teacher,” he said to UT San Diego. “To me, he was like a second father. I’m grateful that I was able to spend time with him at a recent Helix varsity-alumni basketball game.”
The paper said that Speidel was diagnosed with lung cancer. A friend of Speidel's was quoted as saying that he "never smoked a day in his life."
Speidel was laid to rest on Saturday, Jan. 12 in his hometown of St. Louis. A local public memorial or "celebration of life," has yet to be scheduled.
Did you know or did you play for Coach Speidel? Do you have a story to share? You are invited to comment below.