Dan French ’56, MS ’64 died Nov. 14, 2012, at his home in Indian Wells, Calif. He was 78. A standout three-sport athlete at Pacific in the 1950s and longtime men’s basketball coach and athletic director, French was a member of the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame.
During his undergraduate years at Pacific University, French was a four-year letter winner in football, basketball, and track and field, but he especially stood out on the hardwood. He held the Pacific career record for rebounds until 2010 and ranks fifth on Pacific’s all-time scoring list. He was inducted into the NAIA District II Hall of Fame in 1968.
He served two years in the U.S. Marine Corps before starting a teaching and coaching career at Hillsboro High School. In 1960, he became Pacific’s head men’s basketball coach, a position he held for 12 seasons. He led the Badgers to a second-place finish in the Northwest Conference in 1962‑1963, and his 117 wins were the most in school history until 2001‑2002.
He served as Pacific’s director of athletics and chair of the physical education department from 1965 to 1972 and came back to the court in 1982‑1983 as interim coach for 14 games.
He and his wife, Varina, moved to Borrego Springs, Calif., in the late 1980s, where French coached football and worked at Ram’s Hill High School.
He is survived by his wife, Varina Heinrich French, who also served as a Pacific coach and physical education faculty member and holds her own place in the Pacific University Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as by son Daniel V. French and his wife, Hayley; daughter, Laurie Lund and her husband, Kurt; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.