Johnny Orr, the fist-pumping basketball coach who led Michigan to the national title game and Iowa State into national prominence, has died. He was 86. His death was confirmed Tuesday by Iowa State, where Orr led the Cyclones to a school-record 218 wins from 1980 until 1994.
Twelve of Orr’s 29 seasons as a Division I coach were at Michigan, where he guided the Wolverines to four NCAA tournament berths, the national title game in 1976 and 209 wins, the most in the school history. Orr was twice named the Big Ten’s coach of the year. In 1976, Orr was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as its national coach of the year, and the Wolverines won the league title the following season.
Here’s a statement from current Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein:
“The Michigan Basketball program is saddened by the passing of Johnny Orr today. Johnny was a tremendous person and basketball coach. We will always value the many positives he brought to both the University of Michigan and college basketball in general. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Orr family during this time.”
Here are a few reactions via twitter:
RIP Johnny Orr. One of the finest people I have ever met. He had a unique ability to make your day better. We lost a champion today.—
Coach McDermott (@cucoachmac) December 31, 2013
I've never met a person who didn't like Johnny Orr. And if I did, I probably wouldn't want to meet them twice.—
Jon Miller (@HawkeyeNation) December 31, 2013