| Overall UK Wins: 1 | Overall UK Losses: 0 | Win % 100 |
Date of Birth: May 14, 1935
Date of Death: January 15, 2022
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Alma Mater: Whitworth College
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|3/17/1984||Kentucky vs. Brigham Young||W||93 - 68||20||25||30||18||0||0||Brigham Young bench||Dick Paparo, Jim McDaniel and Dan Niksich|
Obituary - Spokesman-Review (January 23, 2022)
Dan Niksich was born on May 14, 1935, in Seattle, Washington, and passed peacefully on January 15, 2022. He was preceded in death by parents Emil and Mary Niksich and brothers Joe (Reeda) and Emil (Lee) Niksich.
He was proud to have grown up in the South Park community and spent many hours on the playfields at the local park. He earned numerous basketball and football awards at Cleveland High School from 1950-to 1953 as a member of the Seattle City League. He earned All-City Football and Basketball honors and was named one of the top two leading scorers during those years. More important to him were the several teammates who remained close friends for the rest of his life.
Dan spent his college years at Whitworth College (now University) and excelled in football and basketball. He was on the All-Evergreen Conference football first team and named Honorable Mention on the Little All-American Team his senior year. He combined the lessons learned in sports with the degree earned in Education as his lifelong career.
Whitworth was the meeting place of his future wife of 64 years, Dianna (Riley). His family consists of children Kari, Steven (Elizabeth), Michael (Kelli), and grandchildren Madison, Brandon, Riley, and Parker.
Dan taught at Cooper Elementary, Shaw Middle School, and then at Ferris High School for thirty years as a member of the History Department, assistant coach in basketball, varsity head football coach, and boys and girls golf coach. His teams were always competitive and earned Spokane City League championships. Many of his students competed at the college level and some were professionals in golf and football. Dan cared greatly about his students and endeavored to give them the best experience during high school and to share with them the needed qualities to be effective and positive members of our society. He was the Ferris nomination for the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1992-93.
Dan also had a notable career as a basketball referee. He officiated numerous local and state-level championship tournaments and actively worked games in the Community Colleges of Washington, Big Sky Conference, Pac 12, Mountain West Conference, and the WCC where Gonzaga plays. He refereed early rounds of the NCAA Finals four different years. Dan received the Big Sky Lifetime Achievement Award and the 25-year award for his contribution to sports from the Inland Empire Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association. He is also a member of the Inland Empire Officials Hall of Fame.
After retirement from Spokane Schools in 1997, Dan and Dianna moved to the Westbrook Village Golf Community in Peoria, AZ. They remained there until Dan's health warranted a move back to the Seattle area to be near family.
His influence on young people is evidenced by the many letters, phone calls, and visits he received over the years from his students and team members. Connection to friends from elementary and high school to those in teaching and new friends in retirement (The Poker Club and the Hole-In-Oners) were important to him. The stories, experiences, and memories will keep us thinking of him now and beyond. Above all was his love for his immediate and extended family. Nothing compared to his love for his grandchildren and the joy they brought him. His faith sustained him until the end, and he will be missed dearly.
A memorial service is not currently planned, but the family wishes that any memorial gift be sent to EvergreenHealth Hospice, 12040 N.E. 128th St., Kirkland, WA 98034-3098.