Tom Kezar, who led Packers to their last state boys basketball title, passes away

Published 7:48pm Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Austin recently lost a key player from its last state championship boys basketball team.

Tom Kezar, who led the Packers to their last state title in boys basketball in 1958, passed away recently in his home in Corona Del Mar, Calif.

Kezar had a knock down jump shot when he played for Austin and he put up his best performance in the 1958 state semifinals, when he poured in 28 points to lift the Packers to 61-56 win over Willmar. Kezar would’ve had a lot more points if there would’ve been a 3-point line back then, because many of his shots were from deep.

Austin resident Larry Maus, who played basketball with Kezar, remembers how big that state tournament run was for Austin and how much Kezar had to do with it.

“It was unbelievable,” Maus said. “He single handedly was given credit for winning that state tournament. In my opinion, Kezar was the hero. He was one of the best pure shooters ever to play for Austin.”

Kezar, who went on to play men’s basketball at the University of Minnesota, led all scorers in three of his six games in the state boys basketball tournament.

Austin grad Ron Ahorn, who now lives in Colorado, considered Kezar his best friend and the two had been friends since grade school.

“He was a great basketball player and a great friend,” said Anhorn, who visited Kezar with Larry and Tony Maus and David Baudler last spring.

The visit was a good one for everyone involved as they looked back and reflected on their playing days with the Packers. Maus spoke for Kezar when Kezar when he was inducted into the AHS athletic hall of fame.

“He was just a great friend,” Maus said. “He was gentleman at all times and he was a delight to be around.”

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