Former University of Iowa basketball player Kenny Arnold — a member of the 1980 Final Four Hawkeyes team — died early Saturday at 59.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Arnold family,” Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery said in a news release. “We lost one of the most inspirational players our program has ever had. Kenny always had a smile on his face and cared most about the happiness of others. His spirit & legacy will not be forgotten.”
His friends and former teammates turned a whiteout game against Illinois on February 18, 2017 into a fundraiser for Arnold, selling white shirts with the classic script Iowa, a “Teammates for Life” logo and his name and number on them for $30.
Later that year, Iowa introduced the Kenny Arnold Spirit Award at its postseason award ceremony. The award is presented to the Hawkeye “who exemplifies Arnold’s spirit of leadership, character, courage, determination, and poise.”
Arnold battled a number of health issues, including a brain tumor and several strokes, which limited his mobility and ability to speak.
Arnold played for the Hawkeyes from 1979-82, helping lead Iowa to its third Final Four in 1980 and a Big Ten regular season championship in 1979.
A three-year starter, Arnold played on four NCAA Tournament teams.
Arnold was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 96th overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft.
He ranks 37th all-time in scoring for the Hawkeyes with 1,112 points and 10th with 352 assists.