You Get What You Earn- Denny Crum Louisville’s Legendary Former Coach


I always admired Denny Crum’s matter of fact attitude. He won two national championships at the University of Louisville and he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Crum spent a number of years working under legendary coach John Wooden at UCLA. I followed Coached Crum and His career as Louisville basketball coach for nearly thirty years. Crum never got frazzled, he was slow and deliberate. He always recruited players who were, little known, but had tremendous upside. He recruited Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Illinois, California, and Georgia and he was able to sign many players, who helped him to lead the University of Louisville to two National Championships in 1980 and 1986.

Denny Crum believed in playing the best, to be the best. But with Crum it was a process, he played the best, took losses, but Crum learned who his leaders were, win or lose, He learned the nuances, strength and weaknesses of his team. He also learned who his leaders would be and who ultimately would lead his team to victory. He learned who the players were to best play within his system. But most of all Crum recruited athletes, who could play more than one position. Crum also ran a man to man switching defense on screens. And ran the UCLA high-post offense.

Denny Crum was no nonsense, cool and collected, Many called him Cool Hand Luke and Mr March, because he usually had his teams ready to play by NCAA tournament time, He took Louisville to six finals fours in addition to his conference championships. Crum was nominated to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994. He is one of 11 coaches to win two national championships. But what made Crum Special was his low key, methodical approach. He believed in preparing his players by playing the best and taking on the tough teams early in the beginning of season. When tournament time came around Crum’s teams were ready for deep runs into the NCAA tournament.

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