Johnny Orr

Johnny Orr (1927-2013)

Teams coached: UMass Minutemen, Michigan Wolverines, Iowa State Cyclones
UMass record: 39-33 (.542)
Michigan record: 209-113 (.649)
Iowa State record: 218-200 (.522)
Overall record: 466-346 (.574)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0  (Runner-up in 1976)
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  10  (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen:  4  (1974, 1976, 1977, 1986)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  1  (1976)
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  3  (1971, 1980, 1984)
  • Big Ten Regular Season Champion:  2  (1974, 1977)

Awards:

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1980-1994 Iowa State
1968-1980 Michigan
1967-1968 Michigan (asst)
1963-1968 UMass
1959-1963 Wisconsin (asst)

Johnny Orr Facts

  • John Michael Orr
  • Born June 10, 1927
  • Died December 30, 2013
  • Hometown: Taylorville, Illinois
  • Alma Mater: Beloit College (BA, 1949)
  • Played at Taylorville HS leading the Tornadoes to a 45-0 Illinois state championship as a senior in 1944
  • Was a multi-sport athlete at Illinois until 1945, when he joined the US Navy during World War II
    • Finished his education at Beloit College (WI)
    • Drafted 20th overall in the 1949 BAA (now NBA) Draft by the St. Louis Bombers
  • Spent eight years as the head boys’ basketball coach at Dubuque HS in Iowa
  • Joined John Erickson’s staff at Wisconsin in 1959, spending four seasons as an assistant coach with the Badgers
  • Became a collegiate head coach in 1963, leading the UMass program for three years
  • Arrived at Michigan in 1967, spending one year as an assistant to Dave Strack before taking over as the head coach in 1968
    • Won 209 games in twelve seasons as UM head coach, going to two NITs and four straight NCAA Tournaments, including a Runner-up finish to Indiana in 1976
  • Left Michigan for Iowa State in 1980, where he would coach the Cyclones for the next fourteen years
    • Iowa State had apparently first contacted Orr to inquire about his assistant coach Bill Frieder; when Orr heard the salary that Iowa State was prepared to offer, he negotiated the job for himself
    • Went to six NCAA Tournaments and one NIT at Iowa State, winning 218 games during his tenure
    • Credited with creating “Hilton Magic,” which describes ISU’s now well-known home court advantage at Hilton Coliseum
      • Orr’s teams won more that 76% of their games at Hilton, beating twenty Top 25 teams there
    • Retired in 1994 as the winningest coach in Iowa State history
  • Along with his wife, Romie, had three daughters

Johnny Orr Coaching Tree

  • Mike Boyd (Cleveland State)
  • Jim Dutcher (Minnesota)
  • Bill Frieder (Arizona State, Michigan)
  • Fred Hoiberg (Nebraska, Chicago Bulls, Iowa State)
  • Jeff Hornacek (New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns)
  • Phil Hubbard (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
  • Jack Leaman (UMass)
  • Fred Snowden (Arizona)
  • Rudy Tomjanovich (LA Lakers, Houston Rockets)