Legendary former Louisville coach Denny Crum, who led the Cardinals to two national championships, dies at 86


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Nov 11, 2008
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Per CBS:

The most important and beloved coach in Louisville Cardinals history has died.

Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer Denny Crum died at his home Tuesday, the school announced. He was 86. Crum led Louisville to national championships in men's basketball in 1980 and 1986. In '80, Louisville won with its "Doctors of Dunk" moniker, led by the petrifying presence of Darrell Griffith. In '86, Louisville beat Duke in the national title game thanks to the poised play of a freshman: "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison.

Crum coached for 30 seasons, all of them at U of L, where he held a .696 winning percentage and won 675 out of his 970 games. Crum guided Louisville to six Final Fours (1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986), and it's because of the program's consistency and prominence across the majority of his time that Louisville has an easy claim to being a top-10 all-time program in men's college basketball.

"Today is a sad day for me personally, as well as the basketball world," Cardinals coach Kenny Payne said in a statement. "My thoughts go through all the lessons that he taught, not just to me, but every player he ever came in contact with. Those lessons are still relevant today. We were so blessed to have him in our lives. He was a true treasure who gave so much to university and the community. We must keep his memory alive. My prayers go out to his family and especially Susan. He is in a better place. Rest in peace Coach. You touched so many. Well done."

Louisville went to the NCAA Tournament in 23 of Crum's 30 seasons, the first 13 years of that run coming before the Big Dance expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Crum held an impressive 43-23 record in the NCAAs. At the time of his retirement, the only coaches with more Final Four appearances than him are arguably the three greatest coaches in the history of the sport: John Wooden, Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski.

Crum's legacy in basketball was cemented in 1994, when he earned induction into the sport's highest honor: the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"The University of Louisville, our community and college basketball fans everywhere have lost a legend in Coach Denny Crum," Kim Schatzel, Louisville's president, said in a statement. "Whether he was leading his beloved Cardinal teams, representing the university with alumni and friends or supporting the many community organizations that counted on his generous spirit and enthusiasm, Coach Crum left a legacy that is unmatched. He will be remembered not only for the many wins and championships, but also for his calm demeanor, warm sense of humor and deep love for his adopted hometown and its people. Our lives are better for having known him. Our hearts go out to Susan and the entire Crum family."

Go Gophers!!

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