Denny Crum
Crum coaching an exhibition against the Dominican Republic National Team in 2011
Biographical details
Born (1937-03-02) March 2, 1937 (age 84)
San Fernando, California
Playing career
1955–1957Pierce Agriculture
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1959–1961UCLA (freshmen)
1961–1963Los Angeles Pierce JC (assistant)
1963–1967Los Angeles Pierce JC
1967–1971UCLA (assistant)
Head coaching record
Overall675–295 (.696)
Accomplishments and honors
  • Sporting News Coach of the Year (1983, 1986)
  • MVC Coach of the Year (1973)
  • 4× Metro Coach of the Year (1979, 1980, 1983, 1994)
  • C-USA Coach of the Year (1996)[2]
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1994
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Medal record

Denzel Edwin "Denny" Crum (born March 2, 1937) is an American former men's college basketball coach at the University of Louisville from 1971 to 2001, compiling a 675–295 (.696) record. He guided the Cardinals to two NCAA championships (1980, 1986) and six Final Fours. Honored in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1994, Crum is one of the major figures in the history of sports in Kentucky and in college basketball in general.

As the head coach at U of L, Crum is widely credited with pioneering the now-common strategy of scheduling tough non-conference match-ups early in the season in order to prepare his teams for March's NCAA tournament, where one defeat ends the season. Crum's prolific post-season play and calm demeanor earned him the monikers "Mr. March" and his most well-known nickname, "Cool Hand Luke."

Playing career

Denzel Edwin Crum was born in San Fernando, California. From 1954 to 1956, Crum played basketball at Los Angeles Pierce College. In 1956, he transferred to UCLA to play for John Wooden. While at UCLA, Crum was honored with the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Trophy for outstanding first-year varsity player. He also received the Bruin Bench Award for most improved player the following year.[3]

Coaching career

After graduating in 1958, Crum served as the freshman basketball coach at UCLA. In 1961 he returned to Pierce College as an assistant coach and in 1964 became the head coach through the 1967 season. Crum was then [4]rehired by Wooden as a top assistant coach and chief recruiter. As a coach at UCLA, he played a role in three NCAA titles.[5] He remained at UCLA until his departure for Louisville in 1971.

Louisville (1971–2001)

In 1971, Crum was hired as head coach by the University of Louisville, taking over from John Dromo. Although there had been substantial national success under Bernard "Peck" Hickman, it was under Crum that the University of Louisville became a consistent college basketball power. By 1972, Crum had taken his first team to the NCAA Final Four, where his team lost to John Wooden's UCLA team. Crum would go on to lead the Louisville Cardinals to five more final fours (1975, 1980, 1982, 1983, and 1986). He is tied for sixth all-time in number of final four appearances with Adolph Rupp and Tom Izzo. They rank behind John Wooden, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Rick Pitino.[6]

On March 24, 1980, the Cardinals won the NCAA Tournament champions, defeating Crum's alma mater, UCLA, 59–54. Crum's 1980 national champions have been credited with popularizing the High-5.[7] Six years later, Louisville would overcome Duke 72–69 for a second title led by "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison. Crum is one of only 11 coaches to win multiple national championships.[8] In 30 seasons, Crum took the Cardinals to 23 NCAA tournaments, posting an overall record of 43-21.

While in the Metro Conference, the Cardinals won 12 regular season titles and 11 tournament championships. In its 19 years seasons, Louisville finished 1st or 2nd 17 times.

In 1993, Crum became the second fastest coach to reach 500 wins.[9] He ranks 16th in overall Division I wins.

Other coaching

Crum coached the 1977 USA World University Team, where he won a gold medal. In 1987, he coached the Pan American team to a silver medal.

Coaching style

Crum had a signature style as a coach. He usually held a rolled up program in one hand during games and would often gesture with it. At Louisville, whose team colors are red and black, Crum sometimes wore a red blazer on the sidelines.

On the court, Crum's teams were famous for running a 2-2-1 zone press that switched in half court to man-to-man defense. Like his mentor at UCLA, John Wooden, Crum ran the high-post offense, which emphasizes post play. From 1989 to 1996, four of Crum's post players (Pervis Ellison, Felton Spencer, Clifford Rozier, and Samaki Walker) were selected in the top 16 picks in the NBA draft, including three (all but Rozier) in the top ten. Even Crum's guards tended to score on the interior: his 1980 national championship team was known as the "Doctors of Dunk." On defense, his players were expected to be interchangeable, switching on all picks, and fronted the pivot. This defense denied interior passes and encouraged perimeter shots. The year after Crum won his last national championship in 1986, the NCAA introduced the three-point line to post-season play, revolutionizing the game. With outside shooting newly emphasized, Crum never returned to the Final Four.

Throughout his career, Crum was famous for superior in-game coaching. His teams tended to score immediately out of timeouts—using plays Crum would draw up in the huddle—and play well in close games.[10]


On his 64th birthday, Crum announced that he would retire at the end of the season. Though Crum insisted the decision was his, it is widely rumored that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich drove him out to pursue the newly available Rick Pitino.[11]

Radio career

From 2004 to 2014, Crum co-hosted a local radio talk show with former University of Kentucky head coach Joe B. Hall. Both did their portions of the show from different studios, Crum in Louisville and Hall in Lexington.[12] The Joe B. and Denny Show was the top Fox Sports radio show in the state of Kentucky.[13] The show, which aired on WKRD in Louisville and WVLK-FM in Lexington, was carried by 21 stations in all at its peak, and still had 16 stations when it ended on October 30, 2014 after WVLK-FM announced a format change.[12]


In the 1980s, Crum was named National Coach of the Year three times (1980, 1983, 1986). He was awarded Metro Conference Coach of the year three times (1979, 1980, 1983). In 1980, he was also named the Sporting News Coach of the Year, the Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year, and the Basketball Weekly Man of the Year.[14]

In 1994 Crum was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In 2002, Crum received the Legends of Coaching award given by the John R. Wooden Award Committee. This award recognizes "a coach's character, success rate on the court, graduating rate of student athletes, [and] his coaching philosophy".[15]

On February 7, 2007, Louisville's home floor at Freedom Hall was officially named "Denny Crum Court."[16] When the Cardinals basketball teams moved to the downtown KFC Yum! Center in 2010, the name "Denny Crum Court" was retained in the new facility.[17]

In 2010 Crum was an inaugural inductee of Pierce College's athletic hall of fame.[18]

Personal life

Since 2001, Denny Crum has been married to Susan Sweeney Crum, then a news anchor and reporter for Louisville television station WDRB.[19] In 2006, Susan Sweeney Crum became an announcer and news anchor at Louisville public radio station WFPL.[20] He has three children, Cynthia and Steve from his first marriage, and Scott from his second marriage. He lives in Louisville and has a hunting ranch in eastern Idaho, near Henrys Lake.

He also plays professional poker[21] and collects western novels by Louis L'Amour.[3] During his coaching career, he was amongst the founders of the Louisville Eccentric Observer, the city's alternative weekly newspaper. For the past twenty years, Crum has also bred horses.[22]

Crum still appears at various functions with former Cardinal and pro-basketball player Darrell Griffith.[16]

Crum founded The Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation, Inc., which awards scholarships to individuals who have demonstrated leadership, community service, and academic achievement. Requirements include: application form, high school transcript, 3.0 cumulative GPA, and a community service resume listing detailed volunteer involvement and leadership experience.[23]

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Louisville Cardinals (Missouri Valley Conference) (1971–1975)
1971–72 Louisville 26–5 12–2 T–1st NCAA University Final Four
1972–73 Louisville 23–7 11–3 2nd NIT Quarterfinal
1973–74 Louisville 21–7 11–1 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1974–75 Louisville 28–3 12–2 1st NCAA Division I Final Four
Louisville Cardinals (Metro Conference) (1975–1995)
1975–76 Louisville 20–8 2–2 2nd NIT Quarterfinal
1976–77 Louisville 21–7 6–1 1st NCAA Division I Second Round
1977–78 Louisville 23–7 9–3 2nd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1978–79 Louisville 24–8 9–1 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1979–80 Louisville 33–3 12–0 1st NCAA Division I Champion
1980–81 Louisville 21–9 11–1 1st NCAA Division I Second Round
1981–82 Louisville 23–10 8–4 2nd NCAA Division I Final Four
1982–83 Louisville 32–4 12–0 1st NCAA Division I Final Four
1983–84 Louisville 24–11 11–3 T–1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1984–85 Louisville 19–18 6–8 T–4th NIT Semifinal
1985–86 Louisville 32–7 10–2 1st NCAA Division I Champion
1986–87 Louisville 18–14 9–3 1st Declined NIT
1987–88 Louisville 24–11 9–3 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1988–89 Louisville 24–9 8–4 T–2nd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1989–90 Louisville 27–8 12–2 1st NCAA Division I Second Round
1990–91 Louisville 14–16 4–10 8th
1991–92 Louisville 19–11 7–5 T–2nd NCAA Division I Second Round
1992–93 Louisville 22–9 11–1 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1993–94 Louisville 28–6 10–2 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1994–95 Louisville 19–14 7–5 T–2nd NCAA Division I First Round
Louisville Cardinals (Conference USA) (1995–2001)
1995–96 Louisville 22–12 10–4 T–3rd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1996–97 Louisville 26–9 9–5 T–5th NCAA Division I Elite Eight
1997–98 Louisville 12–20 9–5 5th (American)
1998–99 Louisville 19–11 11–5 2nd (American) NCAA Division I First Round
1999–00 Louisville 19–12 10–6 2nd (American) NCAA Division I First Round
2000–01 Louisville 12–19 8–8 5th (American)
Louisville: 675–295 270–110
Total: 675–295

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Missouri Valley Conference Index | College Basketball at". Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "Denny Crum". University of Louisville. 2000. Archived from the original on February 12, 2002. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Profile at the Wooden Award website". Archived from the original on October 26, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ L.A. Times 2-9-1994 and I played for him in 65-66 season
  5. ^ "The official site of the Joe B. and Denny Show - Denny Crum Bio". Archived from the original on May 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-06.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ " - NCB - The Denny Crum Legacy". Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  7. ^ "High five - meaning and origin". Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  8. ^ "Player Bio: Denny Crum :: Men's Basketball". Archived from the original on October 26, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "Official Website of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame - Hall of Famers". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  10. ^ "Readers' List: Big-game coaches". Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  11. ^ " - NCB - Crum retiring after season". 2001-03-05. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  12. ^ a b Story, Mark (October 30, 2014). "For Joe B. and Denny, a bittersweet end to their radio days". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "The official site of the Joe B. and Denny Show - About The Show". Archived from the original on April 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-06.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "Denny Crum's profile on Master Basketball Coaches". Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-15.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  15. ^ "Wooden Award - Athletics". Archived from the original on May 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-04.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. ^ a b "Crum's legacy comes full circle with dedication of court - Men's College Basketball - ESPN". 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  17. ^ "Court at KFC Yum! Center still honors Crum | The Courier-Journal". Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  18. ^ "Pierce College Athletic60th". Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  19. ^ "Ex-coach Crum weds TV anchorwoman". Ocala Star-Banner. June 11, 2001. p. 2B.
  20. ^ "2015 Irish Person of the Year: Susan Sweeny-Crum". Ancient Order of Hiberians. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  21. ^ Daniel Negreanu. "Denny Crum - Poker Player Profile". Archived from the original on 2015-02-23. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  22. ^ "Denny Crum's Profile at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association". Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-06.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  23. ^ "Interview with Denny Crum". MoxieTalk.