Utah Utes basketball legend, athletic director Arnie Ferrin dies at 97

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Former Utah All-American basketball player Arnie Ferrin holds his medal from the Basketball Hame of Fame Wednesday, April 1, 2009, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ferrin died at 97 on Tuesday.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Former Utah basketball legend and athletic director Arnie Ferrin has died at 97, his family confirmed.

Ferrin was the embodiment of a “Utah Man,” winning two national championships as a player for the Utes in 1944 and 1947. He’s the only four-time All-American in Utah men’s basketball history and is one of just eight men’s basketball players to have their number hanging in the Huntsman Center rafters.

“Arnie Ferrin will forever be remembered not only as one of the most accomplished Utah athletes of all time, but as a treasured member of the University of Utah family,” Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said.

A graduate of Ogden High, Ferrin starred at the U. as soon as he walked on campus, winning the NCAA championship in 1944 as a freshman. He scored 22 points in the championship game over Dartmouth and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. In 1947 he led the Runnin’ Utes to an NIT title.

Ferrin played three seasons for the Minneapolis Lakers (1948-51), winning two NBA championships. He averaged 5.8 points during his time with the Lakers.

Following his playing career, Ferrin served as Utah’s athletic director from 1976 to 1985. Under Ferrin’s watch, Utah’s upstart gymnastics program flourished with head coach Greg Marsden winning four national championships. The men’s basketball team, coached by Jerry Pimm, made four Sweet 16s.

Ferrin also had a stint as the the general manager of the ABA’s Utah Stars.

“He made a lasting impact far beyond his athletics accomplishments, serving as athletics director for nine years and remaining a proud Utah Ute as he continued to support our athletics programs year after year,” Harlan said. “On a personal note, he was so kind to me and always there for helpful advice. I will miss him dearly. Our thoughts are with his family and the entire University of Utah family,”

Arnie Ferrin, former University of Utah basketball player and one of the best 75 players of March Madness, is honored at halftime by University of Utah athletics director Chris Hill as Arizona and Harvard play Saturday, March 23, 2013, in the third round of the NCAA tournament in Energy Solutions arena.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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