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Denny Crum

As a coach on May 9, 1994
March 5, 1937 in San Fernando, CA
180 pounds


High School:
  • San Fernando (CA) High School (1950-54)
High School Playing Highlights:
  • Three-year letter winner
  • All-Conference (1954)
  • Pierce Junior College (1954-56)
  • UCLA (1956-58)
College Playing Highlights:
  • Averaged 27 points a game as a freshman at Pierce JC
  • Earned All-Southern California Junior College honors
  • As a sophomore, led Pierce to a conference championship
  • Named conference Player of the Year (1955)
  • Played for two seasons under John Wooden at UCLA
  • Scored 346 points in 49 games at UCLA
  • Earned UCLA's Irv Pohlmeyer Trophy as UCLA's best first-year player (1956-57)
  • Earned the Bruin Bench Award as the team's most improved player (1957-58)
  • Played on UCLA teams that compiled a 38-14 record (22-4, 16-10)
High School Coaching:
  • Brubabe (CA) High School, assistant coach, (1960-62)
College Coaching:
  • UCLA, graduate assistant coach/freshman coach (1958-60)
  • Los Angeles (CA) Pierce College, assistant coach (1962-64)
  • Los Angeles Pierce College, head coach (1964-68)
  • UCLA, assistant coach (1968-71)
  • University of Louisville, head coach (1971-March 2, 2001), 675-295
College Coaching Highlights:
  • Pierce Junior College record: 86-40
  • As an assistant at UCLA, the Bruins compiled an 86-4 record and won three NCAA championships (1969, 1970, 1971)
  • Louisville record (675-295) ranks him 19th on the winningest all-time coaches list and 15th in Division I.
  • At Louisville, coached two NCAA championship teams (1980, 1986)
  • Coached six NCAA Final Four teams (1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986)
  • Led University of Louisville to 20 or more victories in 21 of 30 seasons
  • Coached 28 University of Louisville players who have played in the NBA
  • Became the second-fastest coach to reach 500 victories by reaching that mark in the eighth game of his 22nd season, a 98-75 victory at South Florida on Jan. 7, 1993
  • Reached his 600th win in the 14th game of his 26th season
  • Had directed Louisville to 23 NCAA appearances (fourth all-time)
  • Compiled a 42-23 (.646) record in NCAA Tournament games
  • Had guided the University of Louisville to 12 regular season Metro Conference titles and 11 Metro Conference Championships; the Cardinals had won or finished second in 15 of the league's 17 years of awarding champions
  • Upon enshrinement, his 35-17 NCAA record ranked him fourth in all-time NCAA tournament victories
  • At Louisville, made 16 trips to the Sweet 16
  • Had led Louisville to three NIT tournaments and the 1985 NIT semifinals
  • Named National Coach of the Year three times (1980, 1983, 1986)
  • Named Metro Conference Coach of the Year three times (1979, 1980, 1983)
  • The Sporting News Coach of the Year (1986)
  • Playboy Coach of the Year (1986)
  • Basketball Weekly Man of the Year (1986)
  • Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year (1980)
  • Enshrined in UCLA Hall of Fame (1990)
Other Coaching Highlights:
  • Gold medal, USA World University Games (1977)
  • ABA/USA National Sports Festival (1978)
  • Pizza Hut All-Star Game Coach (1980)
  • NABC All-Star Game Coach (1981, 1987)
  • Silver medal, USA Pan-American Games Team (1987)

Denny Crum's low-key personality worked wonders on the collegiate level. A teacher and a motivator, Crum annually built teams that play their best basketball at tournament time. After 30 seaons at Louisville, Crum retired on March 2, 2001, and had assembled a statistical package that would make any coach jealous. The man known as "Cool Hand Luke" has patrolled the sidelines at the University of Louisville for the since 1971, and the Cardinals were a dominant college program, especially in the 1980s. Only three other coaches have coached more NCAA Final Four teams than Crum, who has taken Louisville to six Final Fours (1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986). Crum, who led Louisville to the 1980 and 1986 NCAA championship, was an assistant under John Wooden at UCLA for three NCAA titles. In 1993, Crum became the second fastest coach in history to win 500 games.

During his career, Crum has been named College Coach of the Year three times (1980, 1983, 1986), and has been Metro Conference Coach of the Year five times. Crum's record (675-295) included 21 seasons with 20 or more wins, including 14 straight. He also compiled three seasons of 30 or more victories. Crum retired as the 19th winningest coach in college basketball history and 16th in Division I. His .696 winning percentage is 49th best in history. Crum coached Louisville to 23 NCAA tournament appearances, including 19 in a 24-years stretch. Three of his squads have participated in the NIT. Under Crum, the Cardinals have captured or shared 12 Metro Conference regular season titles and 11 post season tournament championships. He has coached 28 players who have played in the NBA. On the international level, Crum coached the 1977 USA World University Team to a gold medal and the 1987 Pan American team to a silver medal. Crum is a 1958 graduate of UCLA, where he played two seasons for Hall of Famer John Wooden. He coached at Pierce Junior College (CA) for four seasons, and in 1968, became Wooden's top assistant and chief recruiter until becoming head coach at Louisville in 1971.


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