LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Las Vegas Aviators announced Larry Koentopp, the majority owner of Las Vegas Stars, passed away at the age of 82.
Koentopp brought "his Spokane (WA) Indians Triple-A Pacific Coast League franchise to Las Vegas in September 1982, giving the city its first-ever Triple-A baseball franchise," a statement from the Aviators said.
"Larry brought Triple-A professional baseball to southern Nevada," Aviators President and COO Don Logan said. "He gave me my first opportunity in professional baseball 35 years ago and I will be forever grateful to him. He was an outstanding baseball executive and we are all saddened today by the news of his death."
PCL baseball got its start in Las Vegas on April 10, 1983 when the Las Vegas Stars beat Salt Lake City 11-8 at Cashman Field, according to the statement.
The Las Vegas franchise won both its PCL championships under Koentopp's ownership in 1986 and 1988, the statement said. The Stars won the 1985 John H. Johnson President's Award and the 1983 team was inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame for their 80-62 record.
Koentopp was a three-sport, all-state selection at Spokane’s Gonzaga Preparatory High School, the statement said. He then attended Gonzaga University where he was "a standout baseball and basketball player."
When Koentopp graduated, he taught and coached in the southern California school system before returning to Gonzaga to serve as head baseball coach, the statement said. Koentopp was promoted to Athletic Director at Gonzaga and was the youngest director in the school's history.
Koentopp had been a resident of Las Vegas since 1982, according to the statement. He is survived by children Juli, Kevin, Rita and Kerry, his grandson Jake, his brother Jack and family.