Denny Crum will retire at the end of the season.
March 2, 2001
Press Conference Audio:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville men's basketball coach Denny Crum has announced that he will retire following the end of the Cardinals' 2000-01 season, his 30th at the school.
The only active collegiate coach in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Crum announced his retirement on his 64th birthday and on the eve of his last regular season game. U of L will face Conference USA National Division co-leader Memphis on Saturday at 3:07 p.m. in Freedom Hall.
The Cardinals begin Conference USA Tournament play on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. in Freedom Hall. Seeding for the tournament will be announced Saturday.
Since he arrived at Louisville in 1971, Crum proved successful his formula of concentrating on fundamentals early in preseason, playing a rugged schedule that has been consistently ranked among the nation's toughest and developing a squad that performs its best at season's end.
The man admirably labeled "Cool Hand Luke" by former college commentator Al McGuire, Crum was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on May 9, 1994.
He directed Louisville to the 1980 and the 1986 NCAA Championships, ranking him as one of only 10 coaches in NCAA history to win two or more titles. Six times he has guided the Cardinals into the NCAA Final Four, including four times in the decade of the '80s. Only UCLA's John Wooden, North Carolina's Dean Smith and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski have coached more Final Four teams than Crum.
He has directed the Cardinals to 23 NCAA Tournament appearances, including eight of the last nine and 20 of the last 24 years. Three of his squads participated in the NIT, reaching the NIT semifinals in 1985. The Cardinals captured or shared 12 Metro Conference regular season titles and 11 post-season tournament championships under Crum's guidance.
Crum engineered the Cardinals to 20 or more victories in an amazing 21 of his 30 seasons. His teams have won an average of nearly 24 games per season while losing just over eight games a year.
Crum's achievements will enable him to enter college basketball history as one of the game's all-time successful coaches. His 674 victories rank him 13th all-time, holding a 674-294 career record entering Saturday's game against Memphis. His NCAA Tournament mark is 42-23 and he has won 32 of his last 46 games (70 percent) in the post-season event.
Crum currently serves on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors, a post he was elected to in 1989. He served as the organization's president in 1999-2000. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
Championships and impressive milestones are important for a coach. But Crum's legacy extends well beyond the basketball court. He has served as a generous ambassador for the university, city and state. He has represented and rallied his community with an embodiment of the word class. Despite the demands of his job, he has given massive amounts of his time to the community to which he has endeared, some 2,000 miles from his youthful home in California. Even with Crum's lengthy list of accomplishments in mind, many refer to Crum as "a better person than he is a basketball coach," a fitting statement about a truly special person.
A native of San Fernando, California, Crum attended Pierce Junior College and went on to play for John Wooden at UCLA. Crum earned special recognition during his playing days with the Bruins. He received the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Trophy, an award presented annually to the outstanding first year varsity player. Crum was honored the following year with the Bruin Bench Award, presented annually for the most improved in a player.
Following his graduation in 1958 from UCLA, Crum stayed with the Bruins as the freshman coach before eventually returning to Pierce Junior College as its head coach. After four successful seasons at Pierce, Crum returned to UCLA in 1968 where he served as Wooden's top assistant coach and chief recruiter until his move to Louisville in 1971. He became Louisville's 17th head coach, succeeding John Dromo.