Mik Kilgore, a former West Philadelphia High and Temple University basketball standout, died Friday morning from complications related to a heart attack he suffered last week.
Mr. Kilgore, 48, was recently hired as the Girard College boys' basketball coach and was directing workouts at the school for the coming season when he was stricken.
A 6-foot-9 forward at Temple, Mr. Kilgore scored 1,471 points in 124 games and played on three NCAA tournament teams for the Owls from 1988-92.
"I knew Mik since he was a junior in high school," said Mike Vreeswyk, a Temple teammate for one season. "He was being recruited at the time, and he would come to our games.
"We remained close since the late 1980s. Once you play together at Temple, it's like you become family members."
According to a statement released by Temple, Mr. Kilgore, playing for legendary coach Joey Goldenberg at West Philly, averaged 17.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as a senior and was named Public League player of the year by the Markward Club. He also earned the Sonny Hill Mr. Basketball Award for representing the program as a player, student, and citizen while playing in the league during the summer of 1988.
Mr. Kilgore was part of the 1991 Temple squad that advanced to the Elite Eight before losing, 75-72, to North Carolina in the East Regional final.
Lynard Stewart starred at Simon Gratz in 1994 and went on to play at Temple from 1994 to 1998 under longtime coach John Chaney.
"After college, guys would come back to Temple and play pickup games," said Stewart, now the head basketball coach at Simon Gratz. "Mik and I actually were real close. We spoke at least once a week."
Vreeswyk recalled Mr. Kilgore's demeanor off the court.
"Mik had a big personality, always had a smile on his face, was always laughing," the former Morrisville High star said.
On the court, "he was mentally and physically tough," Vreeswyk said. "Coach Chaney would get on the two of us pretty good when he thought we had messed up, so he had to be that type of person."
In a statement, Chaney said: "In the back of my mind, I will always see him with a smile on his face."
Stewart said he and Mr. Kilgore were part of an informal pickup game at Temple's practice facility about three weeks ago. Among the other Temple alumni on hand, Stewart said, were Marc Jackson, Lynn Greer, and Rasheed Brokenborough.
"Afterward, Mik was like, 'We have to do this more often,' " Stewart said. "He was so warmhearted. He always wanted to meet up or play ball. He wanted the Philly and Temple guys to stay connected."
Mr. Kilgore played professionally in Italy, France, Taiwan, and Venezuela. He returned to Temple and last year completed his criminal justice degree.
"He was a great person," Aaron McKie, Temple's associate head coach, said in a statement. "A good guy who did not have a mean bone in his body."
According to Temple, Mr. Kilgore is survived by his parents, Jacqueline and Melvin Kilgore, brothers Melvin Jr. and Marvin, his seven nieces and nephews, and eight aunts and uncles.