Frank Arnold, Former BYU Basketball Head Coach, Dies At 89

Jun 9, 2024, 12:04 AM

Frank Arnold, BYU Basketball, Died...

Former BYU basketball head coach Frank Arnold passed away at the age of 89. (Courtesy of BYU Athletics)

(Courtesy of BYU Athletics)

PROVO, Utah – The head coach who led BYU basketball to its deepest NCAA Tournament run has passed away.

BYU announced on Saturday that Frank Arnold, former head basketball coach from 1975 to 1983, had died at the age of 89.

Arnold guided BYU to an Elite Eight appearance in the 1981 NCAA Tournament. It remains the farthest the Cougars have advanced in the Big Dance in their 31 appearances.

Frank Arnold guided BYU to the Elite Eight in 1981

Along with being a head coach at BYU, Arnold earned his Masters Degree from the university in 1960.

Arnold’s BYU teams played an up-tempo style that worked perfectly with star Danny Ainge.

Ainge signed with BYU out of Eugene, Oregon and played for the Arnold’s Cougar teams from 1977-1981.

During that stretch, BYU made three NCAA Tournament appearances, capped off by the run of ’81. The previous year, in 1980, Arnold guided BYU to the highest NCAA Tournament seed in program history: a 3-seed.

Arnold became the BYU head coach in 1975 after four seasons working on the bench at UCLA under the legendary John Wooden.

After being forced to resign as BYU’s head coach after the 1983 season, Arnold became the head coach at Hawaii from 1985 to 1987.

Arnold had a son, Gib Arnold, who also got into coaching and was a head coach at Hawaii as well. Gib Arnold most recently worked on the support staff for Utah State basketball this past season.

In 2021, BYU basketball held a reunion for former players and coaches at the Marriott Center Annex. Arnold was one of the former head coaches in attendance.

During Arnold’s eight seasons as the BYU head coach, he accumulated a record of 137-94 with three NCAA Tournament appearances and four NCAA Tournament wins.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Frank Arnold, Former BYU Basketball Head Coach, Dies At 89