June 13, 2024

Frank Arnold, the former BYU basketball head coach who led the team to its deepest NCAA Tournament run, has passed away at the age of 89, as announced by BYU on Saturday. Arnold, who coached BYU from 1975 to 1983, took the Cougars to the Elite Eight in the 1981 NCAA Tournament, marking their furthest advancement in the tournament’s history.

Arnold, who also earned his Master’s Degree from BYU in 1960, was known for his up-tempo playing style that complemented star player Danny Ainge. Ainge, from Eugene, Oregon, played for Arnold’s BYU teams from 1977 to 1981, during which the Cougars made three NCAA Tournament appearances, including the notable run in 1981. In 1980, Arnold led BYU to its highest NCAA Tournament seed ever, a 3-seed.

Former BYU Cougars basketball coach Frank Arnold dies at 89 – Deseret News

Arnold became BYU’s head coach in 1975 after four years as an assistant coach under the legendary John Wooden at UCLA. After resigning from BYU in 1983, Arnold went on to coach at Hawaii from 1985 to 1987.

Arnold’s legacy in coaching continued with his son, Gib Arnold, who also became a head coach at Hawaii and recently worked on the support staff for Utah State basketball. In 2021, BYU basketball held a reunion for former players and coaches, where Arnold was one of the former head coaches in attendance.

Throughout his eight seasons at BYU, Arnold amassed a record of 137-94, with three NCAA Tournament appearances and four NCAA Tournament wins.

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