El Paso lost one of its most iconic sports figures on Friday morning with the news that Jim Forbes died at the age of 69.

He was one of the city's legendary head coaches in high school basketball, along with being a UTEP alumnus and an Olympian. Moreover, he was a beloved community figure, husband and father.

He had been in the hospital for several weeks due to health issues, sources confirmed to 600 ESPN El Paso.

Courtesy of UTEP Athletics
Courtesy of UTEP Athletics

As a graduate from Bel Air in 1970, he was an All-American in high school. At UTEP, Forbes averaged 10.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and shot 49.8% from the floor. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls following his college career.

He was also a representative of the 1972 Summer Olympics team that lost in a controversial finish to the Soviet Union. The U.S. team turned down the silver medal after the loss.

Forbes then returned to Texas and became one of the most decorated coaches in local history. He joined Don Haskins' staff from 1981-84 at UTEP and then coached the Riverside Rangers (1984-2004). With the Rangers, Forbes reached the final four of the Texas state tournament (1995).

His next coaching stop was Andress starting in 2004. He had much success with the Eagles, seeing the 2014 and 2015 squads make deep runs in the Texas state playoffs. Forbes coached the team this year until he got sick. Former UTEP player Eugene Costello took over as interim coach for the Eagles during this period.

Here is a replay from the Don Haskins Hour featuring Steve Kaplowitz, The Bear and coach Forbes:


Social media reacted in a huge way to the loss of Forbes:

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