FORT WORTH, Texas -- Former Oklahoma State basketball coach
Jim Killingsworth, who later took over a long-suffering program at
TCU in the 1980s and led the Horned Frogs to the NCAA tournament,
has died. He was 83.
Killingsworth died Sunday from complications of a stroke
suffered last month at his home in Owasso, Okla., TCU officials
The Checotah, Okla., native graduated from what is now
Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., and began his
coaching career at Stidham High School in his home state. He also
coached at three other Oklahoma high schools -- Schulter, Lindsey
and Pawhuska -- and went 305-50 in the prep ranks. At Pawhuska, his
team won the Class A state title in 1961.
He moved into college coaching in 1961 as the University of
Tulsa's freshman coach, a job he held for three seasons. He then
spent six seasons as the coach at Cerritos (Calif.) Junior College,
going 158-47. His 1968 team went 31-3 and won the California junior
Killingsworth went 110-54 in six seasons as the coach at Idaho
State, guiding the Bengals to the round of eight in the 1977 NCAA
tournament -- a run that included a win over UCLA, which had won the
national title in 10 of the previous 13 years.
He coached at Oklahoma State from 1977 to 1979, during which
time Cowboys went 22-31. His final Oklahoma State team went 12-15,
which was the most wins in a season for the Cowboys since 1969-70,
the final season they were coached by Henry Iba.
When he arrived at TCU in 1979, the Horned Frogs had won just
three of its 48 conference games in the now-defunct Southwest
His teams showed steady improvement, including a 1986 trip to
the National Invitation Tournament, in which the Horned Frogs fell
in the second round to Florida. In 1987, Killingsworth's winningest
team made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament but lost to
Killingsworth retired after that season with a 130-106 record in
"He's one of the great hires TCU ever made," former TCU
athletic director Frank Windegger said.
TCU teams under Killingsworth became known as the "Killer
Frogs," a nickname given to them by local newspapers during the
1981 SWC tournament.