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Johnny Orr - The Coach With The Most Wins in Wolverine Basketball History

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 3:17pm


When [|Johnny Orr] resigned as the University of Michigan's head basketball coach in [|1980], his teams had [|compiled] the most wins, 209, and the most losses, 113, in the school's history. Orr, who [|died Dec. 31 at 86], was the longest tenured coach at UM, [|replacing Dave Strack] in 1968 after a year as [|Strack's assistant.] Orr, who had been a head coach at the University of Massachusetts, was a colorful and outspoken personality with a knack for [|motivating his players] and winning the support of fans. In 1976 he took the Wolverines to the N.C.A.A. [|final] against Big 10 rival Indiana University, [|losing to the Bobby Knight] coached Hoosiers 86-68.

In 1980, Orr surprised the basketball community by leaving his position at Michigan for the head coaching job at the less-regarded [|Iowa State University.] He said he took the job because Iowa State offered a [|substantial salary increase], $45,000 from $33,665 at Michigan, and more extra earning opportunities. Over the next 15 years, he took the Iowa State Cyclones to the [|N.C.A.A. tournament] six times and set Iowa State records for wins and losses, 218-200.

In 1980 Orr was [|replaced] at Michigan by his assistant, [|Bill Frieder,] who would [|leave the University of Michigan in 1989] for a job at Arizona State University. His team, under his former assistant [|Steve Fisher,] would win the [|1989 N.C.A.A. national championship] game against Seton Hall. Orr continued to have [|good relations with Michigan], returning to Crisler Arena for the [|first time as Cyclones coach] in 1989. Orr retired from coaching in 1994 and continued to make his home in Iowa.


Reading the 1980 salaries makes me wonder how the current salaries compare, adjusted for inflation.