Original Titan Basketball Coach Dies

Nov. 13, 2008

Fullerton, Calif. - Alex Omalev, who coached college basketball in the city of Fullerton for 23 seasons, died Monday at the age of 88.

Omalev was the first coach of an intercollegiate sport at Cal State Fullerton, launching the program for the 1960-61 season and coaching through the 1971-72 season before retiring. He had coached the previous 11 seasons at Fullerton College and brought much of his last Hornet team with him to CSF, which in those early seasons played its home games in Hornet Gymnasium.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 11 a.m. at United Methodist Church, 114 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton.

Omalev compiled a 139-176 record with the Titans and no successor has won more games. His best seasons were his second and third. In 1961-62 the Titans advanced five rounds into the NAIA championship tournament and finished with a 24-7 record, still the best mark in school history. His 1962-63 team went 19-7. Among his players were Neale Stoner, who would come back to CSF as director of athletics, and Bobby Dye, who would coach the Titans to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in a seven-year (1973-74 thru 1979-80) tenure as head coach

Omalev was a second-team All-American basketball player at USC and graduated in 1948. After serving in the military he played AAU ball and had a tryout with the Chicago team of the fledgling National Basketball Association before becoming a drama instructor at Fullerton College. There he was recruited to try his hand at coaching.

Omalev lived in Fullerton for 60 years. He was inducted into the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. His last active "coaching role" came when Vlade Divac came to the Los Angeles Lakers and Omalev served as a translator and even mentor for several years.

Omalev is survived by sons Tom and Stephen and five grandchildren. A daughter, Tania, is deceased.