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Glendale college softball's Dave "Hawk" Wilder dies at 70

Softball: Coach piloted Vaqueros past 13 seasons.

June 03, 2013|By Charles Rich
  • Longtime Glendale Community College softball coach Dave "Hawk" Wilder died on Sunday.
Longtime Glendale Community College softball coach… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Dave “Hawk” Wilder, who coached the Glendale Community College softball team the past 13 seasons, died Sunday at his home in Northridge. He was 70.

Glendale college assistant softball coach Sal Pizzo confirmed Wilder’s death Monday. Pizzo said Wilder died of natural causes. Wilder, a Native American, was born June 27, 1942, and was a member of the Karuk Tribe.

Wilder coached the Vaqueros from 2001-13, going 213-274-2 overall and 124-141 in division play.

Pizzo, who has served as Wilder’s assistant the past six seasons, said he had been living with Wilder for the past several months.

“He had been suffering from post polio and it’s something he had when he was younger,” Pizzo said. “It had been inflicting him [lately] to the point where he had trouble walking and needed a walking cane and a motor scooter to help him get around.

“I met him three or four years before I came to GCC. Hawk gave me a great opportunity to get my feet wet at the collegiate level. He made me an outfielder coach and I learned a lot from him. He cared very much about his players and wanted them to transfer to four-year schools and succeed there. He wanted to make the players’ experiences positive at Glendale.”

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Pizzo said he saw Wilder around 5:30 a.m. Sunday before Pizzo went to coach a travel ball game. Pizzo found out about Wilder’s death after Wilder’s sister, Jamie, left a voice message on his cell phone.

Pizzo said Jamie had called Wilder to check up on her brother. When Wilder didn’t answer, Pizzo said, Jamie became concerned and went to Wilder’s residence and found him unresponsive before calling the paramedics.

Glendale college men’s Athletic Director John Cicuto said Wilder’s health began to deteriorate over the past year.

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