Cardinal Rewind: Denny Crum

Denny Crum

It’s been a very long time, hopefully more to come soon but when you speak about the University of Louisville, combined with the words NCAA Championship titles, there’s only one name and face that comes to mind: Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum, who landed at our University in 1971. I am fortunate to be a former player of his. Although I wasn’t able to help him win either of those NCAA Championships that the Cards obtained in the 80′s, I did however mange to make an Elite 8 along with 3 NCAA tourney appearances total in the late 90′s in time for his retirement from coaching forever. Not to mention some of the top ranked teams we upset/knocked off while playing a trademark, “tough” Denny Crum regular season schedule.
I played with arguably some of the most memorable CARDS of all time. What “true” Card fan can forget an All-American Dejuan Wheat or Reece Gaines running the point??  Guys like B.J Flynn, Alvin Sims, Ellis Myles, Marques Maybin, and Nate Johnson will forever hold a place in Cardinal fan’s hearts because of their individual efforts that would eventually lead to the progression and the current state of the University. All of the aforementioned are Coach Crum guys that will quickly express the love they still have for “Coach” to this day.
As soon as the other CSZ members and I came to the agreement that I would join and write for it hit me that it would be MOST appropriate for my first piece/interview to be with and about the greatest Coach in University of Louisville history. I called Coach and within two days I had the interview completed and the love for “Coach” increased once again!
Without further ado, here are some Q’s from me and some answers from an NCAA Coaching Hall of Famer: Coach Denzil “Denny” Crum
CSZ: Hey Coach, what have you been doing with yourself since you retired from Coaching?
Coach Crum: I have been working for the University in the development office and doing some traveling with the Alumni Association.  I also have been doing a radio show, 10-12 AM Monday through Friday, with former UK Coach Joe B Hall. I’m also involved with many local charities and have my own foundation, the Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation. We give $1,000 scholarships to bright, local students, and members of our community, in hopes of keeping good students here in their hometown.
CSZ: Do you have any idea how much Louisville fans still talk about  and miss you??
Coach Crum: The love affair with the University and the fans is a mutual relationship that has lasted for years and hopefully will continue for many more.
CSZ: Coach, you have had me on your show, the Joe B. and Denny show as a guest once or twice within the last year or so and I loved it. It was fun for me. What if I (CSZ) could find your #1 fan?? Could he/she have a sit with you as a guest on your show?
Coach Crum: I would be happy to have him or her on our radio show!
CSZ: Last few Q’s Coach Crum if you don’t mind. Could you give us some thoughts on our present day #14 ranked CARDS and how you think they will fare in the Big East and overall this season?
Coach Crum: The current Cardinal Basketball team has both positives and negatives.  The positives are a better than average defense, with an excellent full-court press. The negatives, in my opinion, are mediocre rebounding, poor man-to-man defense and predictable end-of-game scenarios. Their free throw shooting also could use some improvement. But, as Rick’s teams usually do, they no doubt will get better as the season progresses and everyone returns to good health.
CSZ: What’s the most noticeable change in today’s College game from when you last coached it??
Coach Crum: There is great parity but also extremely physical play now.
CSZ: Who is your favorite NBA team and why?
Coach Crum: As a California boy, I grew up a Lakers fan and still root for them!
And there you have it, thoughts from the man himself. When speaking with Coach Crum nowadays, the first things you will recognize is how sharp he still is, how much knowledge remains behind that friendly childlike smile,  soft beady stare and ever-growing heart. Oh no, he hasn’t lost it.  It is honestly very easy to get him started as he would disappear  into a deep “teachers” train of thought while spitting “game” (literally). Trust me I didn’t need to say much. Shhh…
Cards records during the four years I played for Coach Crum
(overall)  (conf)
1996–1997        26–9          9–5       (NCAA Elite 8)
1997–1998        12–20        9–5
1998–1999        19–11        11–5     (NCAA 1st Round)
1999–2000        19–12       10–6    (NCAA 1st Round)
Coach finished his legendary stint with the Cardinals in 2001.  Still to this day there is a mystical look and feel about Coach Crum that almost makes him seem unreal and ironically enough “Legendary” to most that view him or have a lucky enough day to cross paths with him.
With 23 NCAA tournament appearances, 6 Final Four appearances and 2 NCAA Titles its easy to understand why Mr. “Cool Hand Luke” keeps a smile and never sweats anything. Thanks Coach we love and miss you
Card fans everywhere and myself!
PS: Here is a hash tag train I’m starting. Each tag has a significant meaning to me that applies to Coach Crum one way or another. Go to twitter, follow @Cardinalsportszone  #CSZ and see where the hash train goes.#halloffame #Johnwooden #8086 #fishing #outofboundplays #UCLAcut

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