Former New Mexico coach in critical condition

Updated: November 17, 2004, 3:40 PM ET
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Former New Mexico coach Bob King, who turned the Lobos' program into a national power in the '60s, was in critical condition Wednesday at a hospital in Albuquerque.

University of New Mexico spokesman Greg Remington said King was in the intensive care unit at the Veterans Administration Hospital, but that was the only information the family was releasing at this point.

King, 81, coached at New Mexico from 1963 to 1972, compiling a record of 175-89. Under King, the Lobos consistently were ranked in the Top 25 nationally, won two Western Athletic Conference titles, made one NCAA tournament appearance and three NIT tournaments.

In 1964, the Lobos reached the championship game of the NIT, where they lost to Bradley.

King never had a losing season at New Mexico after taking over a program that had had eight straight losing seasons. His 1963-64 team finished 23-6 and the Lobos went 23-5 in 1967-68.

In King's first three years in Albuquerque, attendance at home games doubled at Johnson gymnasium. That led to the construction of The Pit, which opened in 1966 and now seats just over 18,000.

The playing floor inside The Pit was named in honor of King several years ago.

King was an assistant athletics director at New Mexico for one year after stepping down as the basketball coach and was athletics director at Indiana State from 1974-80. While there, the Sycamores, led by Larry Bird, reached the national championship game, losing to Michigan State.

King and his family later returned to New Mexico. He continues to attend most Lobo home games.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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