Kenneth J. Fagans, a 30-year resident of Balboa Island and a longtime commissioner of the organization that oversees Southern California high school athletics, died of a heart attack Saturday at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
Fagans, who was elected to the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, was 84. He was the commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section office from 1951 until he retired in 1975.
In his time, the Southern Section, which includes Orange County, grew from 218 to more than 458 high schools.
"I've tried to be a strong commissioner," Fagans said at the time of his retirement. "I think when you take something from nothing and mold the thing as we have, you are considered a dictator."
Fagans was born in Detroit in 1909 and moved to California with his family in 1923.
He was a standout basketball player at Huntington Park High School and earned all-state honors as a senior center in 1927. Huntington Park won a Southern Section title that year.
Fagans went to Oregon State, where he was the leading scorer on the freshman team. For the next three seasons, he played in every varsity game. Fagans was president of his senior class in 1932 at Oregon State.
Fagans coached basketball at Compton High School from 1947 to 1953. He led his team to a pair of Southern Section titles and his teams won 53 consecutive games between 1950 and 1953.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Norma, two sons and his sister.