SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – University of Utah Athletics is mourning the passing of former men’s basketball star and athletics director Arnie Ferrin. Ferrin, 97, passed away early Tuesday morning, his family confirmed.
One of the most decorated players in Utah men’s basketball history, Ferrin is the only four-time All-American in the history of the program, earning the distinction in each season played (1944, ’45, ’47 and ’48). The Ogden, Utah, native helped lead Utah to national championships in 1944 and 1947, and is enshrined in the Utah Athletics Hall of Fame, the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and the National College Basketball Hall of Fame. His jersey number 22 is retired by the University.
Ferrin would later serve as Utah’s athletics director from 1976 until his retirement in 1985. He had returned to the Salt Lake City campus as assistant to the Vice President for University Relations in 1974 and served in that role for two years before accepting the athletics director position. In his tenure, Utah won 10 team national championships and 15 conference championships.
“Arnie Ferrin will forever be remembered not only as one of the most accomplished Utah athletes of all-time, but as a treasured member of the University of Utah family,” said Director of Athletics Mark Harlan. “He made a lasting impact far beyond his athletics accomplishments, serving as athletics director for nine years and remaining a proud Utah Ute as he continued to support our athletics programs year after year. On a personal note, he was so kind to me and always there for helpful advice. I will miss him dearly. Our thoughts are with his family and the entire University of Utah family.”
As a freshman, Ferrin led the Utes to the 1944 NCAA Championship, scoring 22 points in the final game against Dartmouth, including four in overtime, and became the first freshman ever to be named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. After losing in the more prestigious National Invitational Tournament to Kentucky, the Utes were asked to take the place of Arkansas in the eight-team NCAA Tournament and won the title. That Utah team was dubbed “The First Cinderella” in a March 2010 article in Sports Illustrated.
Ferrin was runner-up for tournament MVP in 1947 when Utah won the NIT championship with a 49-45 victory over Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats.
After graduating from Utah in 1948, Ferrin was named the MVP of the annual East-West All-Star game.
He was then selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1948 Basketball Association of America (later the NBA) Draft and played for three years (1949-51), winning two championships in his time with the team, led by head coach John Kundla.
Ferrin, who would later become general manager of the American Basketball Association (ABA) Utah Stars, is one of only two basketball players in history to win an NCAA, NIT and NBA championship.
Ferrin was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame as part of the charter class of 1970, and was the last living member of the Hall’s inaugural class. In 1985 he was inducted into the University of Utah’s Crimson Club Hall of Fame, and in 2008 he was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He also was inducted in 2012 in the inaugural class of the Pac-12 Hall of Honor, which was established as a basketball-specific distinction, but is now known as the Pac-12 All-Sports Hall of Honor.
Chariton Arnold “Arnie” Ferrin, Jr., was born July 29, 1925 in Salt Lake City. He is a graduate of Ogden (Utah) High School.