Johnny Orr 2012
One of the most popular and successful coaches in Iowa State University athletics history, Johnny Orr’s name is synonymous with Cyclone basketball. The coach with the most wins in Iowa State history, Orr finished his 14-year (1980-94) coaching career with the Cyclones with a 218-200 record and six trips to the NCAA tournament, one of which was the school’s first appearance in 40 years during the 1984-85 season.
The 1985-86 season was the highlight of Orr’s career at Iowa State. The Cyclones finished second in the Big Eight with a 22-11 overall record and a trip to the Sweet 16. That journey included a second-round victory over Michigan, a team that was ranked fifth in the nation.
Prior to coming to Iowa State, Orr was the head coach for three seasons at the University of Massachusetts and for 12 years at the University of Michigan. Orr completed his run at Michigan with two Big Ten titles, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and a national runner-up finish in 1975-76. He was named National Coach of the Year that season.
A native of Taylorville, Ill., Orr attended the University of Illinois and Beloit College, from which he graduated in 1949. He later played professional basketball for the St. Louis Bombers and the Waterloo Hawks of the Basketball Association of America, the precursor to the NBA.
Orr lives in Estero, Fla., with his wife, Romala. The Orrs are life members of the ISU Alumni Association.