Louis Orr, a star forward at Syracuse University who played eight seasons in the NBA before embarking on a long coaching career, has died. He was 64 years old.
Orr’s family said in a statement via Georgetown University on Friday that Orr died Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Orr helped Syracuse to four NCAA Tournaments between 1976 and 1980 and earned All-Big East season and conference tournament recognition during his senior year as a player at the college level. His number, 55, was retired in 2015.
“We mourn the loss of an Orange legend — a player, a coach and, most importantly, a great person who made everyone around him better,” the Syracuse men’s basketball program posted on social media. “The memory of Louis Orr will live in our hearts forever, and especially each time we look up and see his number 55 in the rafters of the Dome.”
Orr was a second-round pick out of Indiana in 1980 and played two seasons with the Pacers before spending six seasons with the New York Knicks from 1982-1988.
Orr, a Cincinnati native, joined the college coaching ranks as an assistant at Xavier in 1991 and had stints at Providence and his alma mater before taking over as head coach at Siena in 2000. He coached one season there, five in Seton Hall and seven at Bowling Green.
Orr was an assistant in the Chinese Basketball Association for a year before joining coach Patrick Ewing’s staff at Georgetown. He spent five seasons as the Hoyas’ assistant and became a special assistant to the head coach in the spring.
Ewing said he lost a great friend and someone who had been in his life since he was 22 years old, when he entered the NBA.