Former Iowa State basketball coach Johnny Orr dies at 86


On the morning before Iowa State’s 12th men’s basketball game, everybody involved with the Cyclones were saddened to hear about the passing of former legendary head basketball coach Johnny Orr.

Photo courtesy of Cyclone Athletics. /

From the Associated Press report:

"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."

Current head coach Fred Hoiberg played under Orr for three years and saw the transformation of Iowa State getting national attention. The Mayor referred to Orr as his hero.

"“As a kid, just to see him walk out of that tunnel was what you waited for on game nights. Just to see his enthusiasm and passion. He was a father figure to so many of us. He impacted so many lives and made all of us better people. Not only was he a great basketball coach, he was even a better person,” Hoiberg said. [AP]"

Orr brought Hilton Magic to prominence. He led the Cyclones to six NCAA Tournament appearances; his most successful season was in 1985-1986 when they reached the Sweet 16. That included a 72-69 win over the Wolverines in Minneapolis during the second round. Again, that was the team he coached prior to Iowa State.

When it was all said and done, Orr finished as the Cyclones’ all-time winningest coach with a 218-200 record. In his career, Orr finished with a 466-346 record (also with UMass) and went to the NCAA Tournament 10 times.

Our sympathies goes out to the Orr family, and you can expect a tribute to the great coaching legend during tonight’s game against Northern Illinois at Hilton Coliseum. We’ll also see an emotional Fred Hoiberg, current and former players, and many fans that watched Orr on the sidelines.