Former KU Basketball Star, Loneski, Passes Away At 77

LAWRENCE, Kan. –(WIBW) A former Jayhawk and true hero passed away over the weekend.

Ron Loneski, former Kansas men's basketball player and Bronze Star recipient, passed away on Friday in Lawrence at the age of 77.

Loneski, a 6 foot 5 Forward from Indiana lettered 3 seasons at KU from 1957-59 and was a starter on the 1957 NCAA runner-up team.

Loneski, drafted by the St. Louis hawks in the 1959 NBA draft chose instead to serve the u.s. military and earned a Bronze Star for valor, a Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Purple Heart.

KU Official Press Release:

Former Kansas men's basketball player and Bronze Star recipient Ron Loneski, a starter on the 1957 NCAA runner-up team, died Friday, August 1, in Lawrence at the age of 77.

A 6-foot-5 forward from Hammond, Indiana, Loneski lettered three seasons at Kansas from 1957-59 under head coach Dick Harp. Loneski, who roomed with KU legend Wilt Chamberlain during Loneski's first year on campus, averaged 14.4 points in 63 games played while at Kansas. He led the Jayhawks in scoring his senior season with a 19.0 points per game, earning 1959 All-Big Seven First-Team and honorable mention All-America honors. As a junior he was second to Chamberlain (30.1 points per game) in scoring with a 13.5 average.

Loneski was selected by the St. Louis Hawks in the 10th round of the 1959 NBA draft. He did not play in the NBA; instead he served two terms in the U.S. military in Germany and Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor, Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and the Purple Heart. Upon his return from his military service, Loneski spent 20 years as a special education teacher at Lincoln High School in San Diego, California, including 10 years as the basketball coach. He retired with his wife, Jackie, to Lawrence in 2000.

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