Ex-New York Knick player Ernie Vandeweghe passed away on Nov. 8 at 86 years old. Sports fans knew him mostly as the father of NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe. Ernie’s own accomplishments, however, and the sports family dynasty he spawned went way beyond that.
The Vandeweghe clan appears unmatched for the depth and variety of its sustained athletic excellence.
Ernie began the family reign with an All-America basketball career at Colgate. He also played soccer at Colgate and received an invitation to the 1948 United States Olympic Soccer Trials. After graduation in 1949, Vandeweghe played in the NBA for six seasons.
Younger brother Gary played basketball at Dartmouth and led the team in scoring in the 1959-1960 season. Ernie’s son Kiki became the most famous Vandeweghe, scoring 29.4 points per game one season with the Denver Nuggets and making four NBA All-Star teams. Kiki also set a national age-group record in the butterfly as a youth swimmer.
Ernie had three other children who all excelled at sports: Tauna won the United States national championship in the backstroke and reached the semifinals of the 1976 Olympics. Heather captained a United States national water polo team. Son Bruk medaled in beach volleyball player in the 1994 Goodwill Games and subsequently played professional volleyball.