Skip to main content

Arizona Athletics Mourns the Passing of Bruce Larson

Apr 14, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. – Former University of Arizona men's basketball head coach Bruce Larson passed away on Wednesday, April 14. Larson led the Wildcats from 1961-1972 and is one of five coaches in program history to win over 100 games at Arizona. He was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Larson began his college career at the University of North Dakota before transferring to the University of Arizona to play for head coach Fred Enke. After sitting out one season, he earned two letters as a key reserve off the bench for Enke before graduating from UA in 1950.
Larson began his coaching career at Eastern Arizona College in 1951 after receiving his masters in Education from Colorado State University in Greeley. He coached the Thatcher Junior College team for six seasons.
In 1957, he accepted a post at Weber Junior College – currently known as Weber State University. In his first year at Weber, he led them to a second place finish in the national junior college tournament and then won the national championship in his second season. He was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 1989.
Enke hired Larson as an assistant coach in 1959 and was promoted to head coach prior to the 1961-62 season when Enke announced his retirement.
His best season as the Wildcats head coach came during the 1964-65 season, when senior Warren Rustand led the way to a 17-9 overall record and a second place finish in the WAC. Larson would register third place conference finishes in 1965-66 and 1968-69. His overall record with the Wildcats was 136-148.
Larson's wife, Betty, passed away in 2017. He is survived by his four children, Brenda, Brett, Brian and Becky.