A Los Angeles native who played collegiately at Fullerton Junior College and Idaho State, Dye parlayed a 115-50 overall record and a California junior college state championship in 1972 at Santa Monica College into the head job at Cal State Fullerton, helping the Titans transition from the Division II level to Division I in 1974 -- his second season on the sidelines at Titan Gym.
Inheriting a program that had endured nine-straight losing campaigns, Dye set about resurrecting the Fullerton program, winning 16 games in his first season in 1973-74 and posting six consecutive winning seasons from 1973-79 -- a mark that remains the best in school history (George McQuarn later had six-straight non-LOSING seasons that included a 16-16 mark in 1985-86). He led Cal State Fullerton to a tie atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA, later known as the Big West Conference) standings in 1976 -- the school’s first conference title in men’s basketball in only the program’s second year in the league and at the Division I level -- and finished among the top four in the league in five of his six seasons.
However, Dye will best be known for the Titans’ remarkable run through the NCAA Tournament in 1978, leading an unheralded “Cal State Who” squad into the finals of the NCAA West Regional in Albuquerque, N.M. After finishing in a tie for third in the PCAA regular season standings, Fullerton roared through the conference tournament with wins over San Jose State, San Diego State (which was the No. 2 seed), and Long Beach State -- the latter a 64-53 win over the fifth-seeded 49ers to claim the school’s first tournament title.
The Titans opened the postseason with an upset of Michael Cooper’s No. 4-ranked New Mexico squad -- which had led the nation in scoring entering the tournament -- in Tempe, Ariz., by the score of 90-85, a game later recognized by USA Today as, at one point, one of the greatest 63 games in NCAA Tournament history. Undaunted, Fullerton followed that performance up with yet another upset, this time over Bill Cartwright and a top-10 ranked San Francisco squad which, at one point, was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the nation that year.
Those victories set up a West Regional final against Sidney Moncrief, Marvin Delph, Ron Brewer, and a No. 5-ranked Arkansas squad, which had pulled an upset of its own, knocking out No. 2 UCLA in the previous round. The Titans led by a point, 58-57, with 1:42 to play and trailed by only a point with 14 seconds to play, but had the ball knocked away in the final possession to secure the win and a berth in the “Final Four” for the Razorbacks.
Dye finished his career with a 109-78 record at the helm of the Titans in 1980, ranking fourth in school history in coaching wins. He later coached at CSU Bakersfield, helping the Roadrunners to NCAA tournament berths in 1982 and 1983 before leaving to coach at Boise State, where he led the Broncos to six postseason berths and a 213-133 overall record in 12 seasons.
Dye, along with men’s soccer standout Mike Fox, All-American gymnast Carol Johnston, and the 1995 NCAA National Champion baseball team, will be inducted into the hall's fifth biennial class on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Fullerton Marriott near the Cal State Fullerton campus.
Individual tickets for the 2013 Cal State Fullerton Athletics Hall of Fame are now available for $95 with tables of 10 available for $800. Those who wish to attend the event can register online by clicking here.
For more information on the event, please contact Greg Paules, Director of Development for Athletics, at (657) 278-4516 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.