Friday, March 15, 2013

Wayne Estes: Greatest Aggie Basketballer
Wayne Estes is the best basketball player in USU history.  In 1965 he was second in the nation in scoring behind Rick Berry.  He averaged 33.7 points per game that year, and 26.7 for his career.  He also was a prolific rebounder at 6'6".  He averaged 13.7 his senior year and 11.9 for his career.  He is still second all time in points, and third in rebounds for Utah State.  This was in less than three years.  (At the time freshmen did not play varsity ball.)  He was destined for greatness in the NBA.

I remember hearing stories of how he practiced and practiced.  A  best friend would throw him the ball over and over as he practiced his shot.
However an accident and a downed power line cut his life short. He scored 48 points, but complained of numb fingers on February 8, 1965.  There was an accident and he and friends went to see if they could help.  A live wire which was dangling as a result of the accident, struck him in the forehead and killed him instantly.
So his memory includes a lot of what ifs.  Reportedly the Lakers wanted to draft him in the first round.


  1. He was my hero at the time. I was 11 years old, and I was in the locker room getting Waynes autograph the night he got killed after the Denver pioneer's game in Logan at the old fieldhouse. Every shot I practiced in basketball I tried to emulate Wayne Estes, especially his 15 foot hook shot. The only person I have seen since Estes that could shoot a hook shot was Karem Abdul Jabar. Estes still shot a better percentage. I met Waynes brother Ron at Georgetown Lake Montana one summer while fishing the Lake. We had a good visit! Ron was my age when his brother died. Ron was granite High Schools Biology teacher and basketball coach in the town of Philipsburg,Montana.

  2. Carolyn Watterson: Seemed Everybody in the valley loved Wayne Estes, couldn't wait to watch the games...

    Mark Grant: Estes was kids in the valley ages 10 to 18 hero. He was everybody's hero really, no matter of age. I was 11 when he was killed. It was such a sad day in the valley. I shall never forget it.

    Saunie Halverson: The Legend Of Wayne Estes. A tragedy still felt by residents in the valley today. What a great person and athlete.

    Lynn R Myers: He was more than great , Awesome!

  3. Richard Elliott: ...only posthumous all american ever - first time. All American team had six member that year. From Anaconda, Montana.

  4. Blane Roskelley: I remember the sad news when I learned of his passing after the selfless act of compassion he exuded for someone in danger. I was in high school at the time.

    Chris Cram: Wayne Estes

    Richard Medsker: I was attending USU at the time. A good friend was the driver of the car that hit the light pole. He came to my home devasted at what had happened.

    Brent Walker: I watched his last incredible game. So sad!

    Gaye Comish Gunnell: He was a great man and basketball player. Was so tragic!

    Bill Hicks: I remember the night it happened. hit that powerline after the game. a shorter person could have avoided it, but he was trying to help the people inside the car.

    Marianne Clay Lanuti: I was at that game as well and remember the crowd cheering. The next day I heard the news. I will never forget


    David Buist: Without an
    Doubt the gratest!!!!

  5. Debra Johnson I remember well the evening when he was killed by a power line, if I remember right. Such a sad day for Aggie fans.

    Amy Broberg Denson
    Amy Broberg Denson My dad used to always talk about him. He really did think he was great and I am sure when he died my dad was really sad

  6. Diane Peterson I remember the accident too

  7. Sue Jensen Yes and we lived on the street where he died. Very sad! 😓

  8. Jay Blotter i went to that game that night.

    Terry Carlsen yes [I saw him play]

    Susan J Keubler Oh yes. I remember.

    Bill Hicks wow, i remember the night he was killed. often wonder if he would have been another Michael Jordan. he was fantastic.

    Richard Medsker The young man that drove the car that hit the pole was a friend of mine and fellow student. He came right down to my home in tears at what had happened. So sad to see such a great talent lost.

    Vicky Fonnesbeck Yes, I was at the game that fateful night.

    Loraine Timothy I'll always remember that night. We were heading home and wondering why all the traffic. It took my breath away.

    Kim Arnell Oh Yes, Legendary...

    Bob Hammond Was at his last game also. I think about 15000 people must have been there

  9. Scott Daines Many times, and yes his last game. He was a true GREAT.

    Kim Arnell The old Man Field House would only hold 4500 give or take a few...

    Julie S. Kraus Oh my gosh! I was in the 6th grade and what a sad day that was the next day. Won't ever forget it. Someone had his autograph and we were all tracing it from her autograph so we had our own. I bet I could still find mine if I dig deep enough.

    David Buist Remember him well!! Not only a great basketball player but a great human being!! His grin from ear to ear.

    Wiley Cragun The car wreak was just around the corner from my house!

    Greg Hansen I stayed to watch Estes do the radio show after the game, then had to walk home from the Fieldhouse that night (a Monday) because my dad was in a bowling league. I took the short cut through the cemetery and ran like crazy to get through it .... the next morning my mom woke me up early. ... she was crying. ... such bad news. ...every time I drive by the Logan Cemetery I think back to that night.

  10. Loretta Larsen Gale I remember his death well. we had just seen him play. Next morning Cache valley was stunned!.

    Gaye Comish Gunnell Watched his last game!

    Glenna Markey I was there the night he died. Greatest Aggie ever

    Kim Arnell Makes you think were Aggie basketball would be right now if he would not of been killed that night...

    Aurelia Thatcher Hyer Sure was a sad day, never forget❣️

    Mark Grant I got Estes autograph in the locker room that fateful night and walked with Estes out onto the court as I was chosen in a contest that one of the Logan Business sponsored back then. I was 11 years old! I knew nothing of the accident until the next morning when I went to school and our principal and 5th and 6th grade teacher at the Trenton elementary informed us before school started that Wayne was electrocuted last night! I was devastated, as were my other 5 boy classmates. I donated the program and autograph to the Estes center a few years ago. I have since gone fishing with Wayne's brother Ron 10 years ago on Georgetown Lake, 14 miles West of Anaconda, Montana where Estes was from. Ron Estes is my same age, he was also 11 years old the night his brother died. Every few years I go to the cemetery where Wayne was laid to rest, just to reflect and remember the greatest basketball player the State of Utah has had in the University ranks. I cried for days when our teacher told us young boys. He was our hero!

  11. Terry Carlsen thank you

    Janae Lee Didn't get to see him but listen to the games on the radio !! So sad 😭 about his death!!!!

  12. Craig Linford On the night of February 8, 1965, Wayne Estes played the last game of his college career. During his last game against the University of Denver in the Nelson Field House, Wayne eclipsed the 2,000 point mark of his career, scoring 48 points in the game.

    Bounce pass to Estes. Puts the ball behind his back. Turns and looks out front to Hal Hale…(Estes) looks at his defense, pushes, and it's…in! Oh, great! Wayne Estes has now scored two-thousand points in a three-year career.
    —Play-by-play announcer Reid Andreasen, KVNU Radio, Feb. 8, 1965

    After the game Wayne and some friends stopped at the scene of a car accident near campus. While crossing the street, Wayne brushed against a downed high power line and was fatally electrocuted. Wayne Estes would have likely been a high draft pick in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1965. The Los Angeles Lakers had intended to draft him in the first round.[1] Estes was posthumously given All-American honors by the Associated Press and also earned a posthumous consensus Second Team All-American distinction. His number of #33 was posthumously retired by the Aggies. Wayne is buried in the Sunset Memorial cemetery near Fairmont, Montana just southeast of Anaconda.

    Julie S. Kraus From what I heard, he and his friends went to see if they could HELP the victims of the car accident. He died trying to help someone else.

    Craig Linford Yes that's what I understand also

    Craig Linford He was a Hero on and off the court

  13. Duke Williams Given my dad's role at USU that often allowed me closer personal interaction with athletes, including Wayne, than most kids, his death was devastating to me and our family. My folks took Wayne's good friend and teammate, Leroy Walker, with them up to the funeral. Many year​s later we visited his grave in Anaconda; it was still overwhelmingly sad.

    Linda Fonnesbeck Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. Such a sad day. Looking back it still hurts

  14. Steven Stoddard I loved Wayne Estes and he always treated me so good. I sold Bball Programs at the old Field House for Tom Moulton, the ticket manager. I was always there early and stayed after the games because they let me in the locker room. Wayne, Troy Collier, Phil Johnson and others were really class acts. I was devastated when I heard of Wayne's death. I had just spoken to him before he left to walk home. I can't remember who he was walking with, it was another basketball player. Does anyone know?

  15. Paul Rasmussen My dad was working at the fire department the night he got killed... I remember the next morning when he come home ,come into my bedroom and told me that he had died .... I cried and cried.. I idolized him

  16. Craig Charlie Earl That was a tough night. We all idolized him. What might have been. How would he have done in the NBA? We’ll never know. 🏀