Kenny Arnold, Key Member of 1980 Iowa Final Four Team, Passes Away
According to a post on his Facebook page, former Iowa Hawkeye guard Kenny Arnold passed away peacefully early this morning after 35 years of seemingly constant battles with his health.
A morning media release from Iowa Sports Information recapped Arnold's basketball career at the University of Iowa. Kenny was a three-year starter who played in the NCAA tournament every season he wore the black and gold. He's 37th on the all-time scoring list at Iowa with 1,112 points. He's 10th in assists in school history, with 352.
Kenny was part of Iowa's last Final Four team, coached by Lute Olson (above), in 1980. He played for Iowa from 1979 to 1982 and was a key part of the 1979-80 team that won the Big Ten championship and made an improbable run to the Final Four following an early-season injury to fellow guard, and superstar Ronnie Lester. Arnold, a sophomore, played the entire season with a broken thumb but still led the team in scoring (13.5 points per game) and assists (4.3 per game). It was just the beginning of what would end up being much more serious health issues during Arnold's life.
Two years ago, the Kenny Arnold Spirit Award was first awarded to a member of the Iowa basketball team that "exemplifies Arnold's spirit of leadership, character, courage, determination, and poise."
Kenny was taken with the 96th overall pick in the 1982 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks, but his health would quickly deteriorate. He was only in his mid-20's when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given only a 10 percent chance of surviving. Kenny would also have several strokes and his mobility and ability to speak would be affected.
Current Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said in a statement,
All of us within the Iowa basketball family are deeply saddened to hear the news of Kenny's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Arnold family. 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 and legacy will not be forgotten.
Kenny Arnold was 59. Funeral arrangements are pending.