If you are a resident of the great state of Kentucky or have the luxury of residing in the greatest city this state has to offer, Louisville, then you already know about Denny Crum and his dominant teams of the late 70’s through the 80’s. Denny was the original cool-hand Luke at the University for his Calm Demeanor on the sideline and red blazer as he strolled up and down the bench. Denny gave to college basketball the Doctors of Dunk, he brought an up-tempo style that put a premium on athletic players who were interchangeable. His switching man to man pressing defenses really pushed the tempo and let his athletic players display their strengths.
The question that eludes me is why is Denny Crum is not mentioned when discussing the greatest coaches in college basketball history? People like to bring up Bobby Knight, John Wooden, Coach K and others but Denny’s Resume stacks up enough to be right in the middle of that conversation. Nobody has the rings of Wooden but if you look at what Denny meant to the game and the effect he had on it during that run of dominance, it is pretty impressive. It has and always will baffle me that he is never mentioned nationally and given the opportunity to come on shows or do some type of sideline broadcasting to show his knowledge of the game. Sure would be an improvement from listening to Bobby Knight on the sidelines; everyone should be thankful that experiment is over.
Without Denny Crum you have no University of Louisville basketball program which has grown to the most profitable program in the country, third in attendance, and top ten programs of all time in wins. Denny was national coach of the year three times 1980, 1983, and 1986. Crum was giving the honor of being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball hall of fame in 1994. Denny was part of three national titles as head assistant at UCLA during the Wooden era and won two national titles of his own in 1980 and 1986 while head coach of the University of Louisville along with 6 final fours.
The man that strolled the sidelines with the rolled up program and chewed gum constantly will be the greatest coach to walk the sidelines at one of the greatest programs in college basketball in my opinion even though I was not old enough to appreciate it during his prime coaching days. My father raised me right and I know all about Denny Crum and the great players to come through the program under his watchful eye, I think it is time that the rest of the nation takes note to mention Denny when discussing great coaches and their effects on the game.