Former basketball Coach Johnny Orr dies at age 86

Dec. 31, 2013 at 12:49 PM

AMES, Iowa, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Johnny Orr, who took teams to the NCAA Tournament 10 times in a 29-year collegiate coaching career, has died at the age of 86.

Officials at Iowa State, where Orr coached the men's basketball team for 14 seasons, said Orr died Tuesday.

"He was my hero," said current Iowa State Coach Fred Hoiberg, who played three years for Orr. "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."

Orr coached three seasons at Massachusetts before moving to Michigan where he posted a 209-113 record over 12 years. He guided the Wolverines to the 1976 NCAA Tournament title game, losing to Big Ten foe Indiana.

He left Michigan after the 1979-80 season to take over the program at Iowa State where he would coach until 1994. He was 218-200 leading the Cyclones.

Orr's 209 wins at Michigan and 218 at Iowa State are coaching records for those schools.

Counting his 1963-66 tenure at Massachusetts, Orr had a career record of 466-346.

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