‘I wanted a Cardinal on my heart for him’: Susan Sweeney Crum opens up about husband’s life outside of coaching

Coach Crum's wife of two decades said his legacy stretches beyond the court into the hearts of everyone who knew him.
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 10:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Away from the hardwood, beloved University of Louisville coach Denny Crum enjoyed fishing, hunting, and making people happy.

His wife of two decades, Susan Sweeney Crum, said his legacy stretches beyond the court into the hearts of everyone who knew him.

“His legacy is in his players and their different successes,” Crum said. “Everyone in his family has that generous sweet spirit. The community has shown us so much appreciation that is also a part of his legacy.”

Crum described her husband as loyal to a fault and generous to everyone and everything.

Coach Crum donated to numerous charities and causes including the American Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis and Megan’s Mountain. He also made time for his hobbies during his off-season.

“He loved coaching mostly because he liked competing, he was brilliant at it,” Crum said. “He loved anything that was competitive. He grew up in California. His dad was a hunter and fisherman. His whole family fishes. He loved horse racing. He loved to golf. He would do anything. The only thing he didn’t do was ski.”

Coach Crum is known for leading the Cardinals to two NCAA National titles and being inducted into the Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

Off the court, his family knows him for simple things like his iconic wink.

“It’s just his signature,” Crum said. “Our daughter-in-law was here last week. The whole family was. We were waiting for Megan get to there. When she arrived, it was like Denny, Megan’s here. He opened his eyes and gave her that wink.”

On May 9, the beloved coach, husband, father, and friend to many, passed away at the age of 86. His wife said her faith tells her that she’ll see him again one day.

But until that day comes, she will always have her husband and the cardinals close to her heart.

“Last year in January, I wanted a Cardinal tattoo on my heart for him,” Crum said. “I was looking at drawings and saw this one. That’s both of us on my heart.”

Crum’s visitation is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 15 at Southeast Christian Church at 920 Blankenbaker Parkway, with a funeral service to take place that afternoon at 2 p.m.

The Celebration of Life for Crum will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday at the KFC Yum! Center and is free to the public, according to University of Louisville.

People are asked to consider an expression of sympathy with a donation to the Denny Crum Scholarship Fund, click or tap here to donate.