The 3 worst head coaches in Arizona Basketball history

Arizona Basketball has long been blessed with a string of highly successful coaches: Lute Olson, Fred Enke, Sean Miller, and even current head man Tommy Lloyd. However, three head coaches were downright bad moves.

Arizona v Houston
Arizona v Houston / Bob Levey/GettyImages
2 of 4

HC: 1961-72. BL. . Bruce Larson. 3. Fired: 1972. player. . Bruce Larson. 511

Despite numerous hurdles, Larson led Arizona to five seasons with a .500 record or better and even finished his best season with a 17-9 (5-5 in Western Athletic Conference) record to finish tied for second place in the conference standings in the 1964-65 season. Despite being the least successful of Arizona's six coaches who led for at least seven seasons, he was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

However, he was dealt a tough hand when he was hired in 1961 to succeed an ailing Enke's 30-plus-year tenure at the helm. The shoes he was expected to fill were enormous, and the facilities he inherited were literally as old as he was: Larson was born in 1926, the same year that Bear Down Gym opened. To make a bad situation worse, Larson's first year as Arizona head man was also Arizona's first year of conference independence before joining the WAC. In Larson's 11 seasons running the ship, the Wildcats didn't make a single NCAA or NIT Tournament and logged six losing seasons.

When Larson took over, conversations about a new stadium had begun and plans were in place. However, the construction of McKale Center was delayed throughout his entire tenure, and outdated facilities left Arizona recruiting in shambles. In 1972, then-athletic director Dave Strack asked Larson to resign after amassing a 138-148 record, and resign he did. However, Larson knew that Tucson and the University still welcomed him, so he remained on the UA faculty list as a physical education professor until 2002 and the analyst for Arizona Basketball broadcasts from 1985-99. Although he wasn't the most successful basketball coach, he found a spot for himself in Tucson's history as a jack of all trades.