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Denny Crum, legendary Louisville basketball coach, dies at age 86

Legendary basketball coach Denny Crum has died at age 86, the University of Louisville confirmed in a statement Tuesday.

The hall-of-famer, who served as the Louisville men's basketball coach for 30 years, passed away in his home, the school said.

"The University of Louisville, our community and college basketball fans everywhere have lost a legend in Coach Denny Crum," said Kim Schatzel, president of the University of Louisville. "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."

From 1971 to 2001, Crum led the team to 23 NCAA tournament appearances, and two NCAA championships — making him one of just 14 coaches in NCAA history who have won two or more titles, the statement said.

In total, Crum guided his team to the NCAA Final Four six times; only five coaches in history have led more Final Four teams, according to the university.

After Crum retired from his position as head coach, he continued to work as a special assistant to the university president for many years. A new residence hall, for both athletes and non-athletes, and the KFC Yum! Center court have both been named in Crum's honor, the statement said.

Beyond the historical statistics and championship wins, Crum was known for being cool, calm and collected. He earned the nickname "Cool Hand Luke" by former commentator Al McGuire, the statement said.

"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," Schatzel said. "Our lives are better for having known him. Our hearts go out to Susan and the entire Crum family." 

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