LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hung proudly above the highly visible Whiskey Row Lofts and across from the KFC! Yum Center, dozens of Denny Crum’s colleagues and former players were on hand to see the new banner unveiled Sunday.
Unfortunately, the now 86-year-old Crum couldn’t make it to see the banner in person due to his declining health.
“We love the banner. I’m sorry it wasn’t a time when Denny could come see it as well,” his wife Susan Sweeney Crum said. “He does know it’s happening. We told him that the banner was going to be unveiled again today.”
She said Crum would be beaming from all of the support.
Crum was one of the original honorees from the 20-year-old program whose banner had been removed at its previous location due to construction.
"With the Hometown Heroes 2.0 relaunch of the popular program, we announced our two-fold mission: honor new Louisville heroes and work to refresh some of Louisville's most iconic Hometown Heroes banners that have come down due to construction or faded with time," Mike Sheehy, president of the Greater Louisville Pride Foundation, said in a press release.
The Hall of Fame coach stood at the helm of the University of Louisville men’s basketball program in 1971.
“We get this guy from Los Angeles who just changes the whole story, the whole narrative around Louisville basketball,” WHAS radio host Terry Meiners said. "it was Denny Crum's momentum that moved this city's image and self-worth forward."
Crum would coach Louisville for the next 30 years, guiding the Cardinals to six NCAA Final Four appearances and two national championships in 1980 and 1986.
The public most recently heard from Crum in March 2022 as he reacted to the hiring of current men’s basketball coach Kenny Payne, a former player on his 1986 National Championship team.
"We spent a lot of time together. We had wonderful trips together," UofL hall of fame basketball player Lancaster Gordon said.
Gordon spent several years under Crum's wing.
He said the lessons Crum taught him span far beyond the basketball court.
"He treated us in a way so that we could learn, make some mistakes in life," Gordon said. "All of those lessons are still engrained in all of us -- business and in life."
Former UofL and NBA player Charles Jones said Crum's illustrious coaching resume pales in comparison to who he was off the court.
"I mean, he's pretty much done everything, and he has always been a kind person, and gentle," Jones said. "[He's] a hard worker. He was a fighter. And I feel like that's carried over into my attitude and the way I carry myself in life."
The banner can be found outside of the Whiskey Row Lofts on West Washington Street.
"With the tremendous legacy Coach Crum built with the UofL basketball program, it seemed appropriate to unveil Denny's banners today," Sheehy said. "On this day when we move our clocks ahead, we, along with the entire Louisville community, will 'Spring Forward' as we anticipate the future success of the UofL Basketball program."
To learn more about the Hometown Heroes program, click here.
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