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Legendary Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum dead at 86

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Denny Crum, the winner of two college basketball national championships as head coach of Louisville, died Tuesday morning at the age of 86, the university said.  

Crum coached at Louisville from 1971-2001 and is one of 14 coaches to win at least two national championships in his career. 

Coach Denny Crum of the Louisville Cardinals during a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Craig Jones  /Allsport)

He led the Cardinals to six Final Four appearances in his 30 years and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994. 

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“Sometimes I think we take people for granted, and I think Coach Crum is one of those,” Roger Burkman, one of Crum’s former players said at his 85th birthday celebration, according to WDRB Louisville. 

“And the reason I say that is he’s always been there for all these years, for all of us, for this university and for this community. He’s that humble guy that you would never know was a legendary superstar of a basketball coach. He’s that loyal — let me repeat that, loyal — friend that’s generous and kind to everyone.”

Denny Crum speaks at the podium

Former head coach Denny Crum of the Louisville Cardinals speaks at the podium after being presented with the 2016 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball award during the 2016 Naismith Awards Brunch at Hobby Center for the Performing Arts April 3, 2016, in Houston.  (Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

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Crum took his teams to the NCAA Tournament 23 times, the 10th-most by any coach, and finished his career with a record of 675-295. 

He retired following the 2000-2001 season but continued to work for the university, spending a few years as the special assistant to the University of Louisville president. 

Denny Crum watches a film honoring the head coach

Denny Crum, left, Tom Jurich, center, and Kenny Klein, right, looking up at the scoreboard during a film honoring Crum’s career at the University of Louisville at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., Feb. 7, 2007.  (James Dawson/WireImage)

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Crum played college basketball at UCLA under legendary head coach John Wooden before joining the staff as an assistant coach. 

There are only five coaches in the history of college basketball who have more Final Four appearances than Crum. 



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