For 10 years, Lynn Archibald coached on both sides of the heated BYU-Utah basketball rivalry. But he will be warmly remembered by the scores of friends he made at both schools.
Archibald died Wednesday at his Provo home of prostate cancer.He was 52.
"Lynn was a sensitive, good guy. He was a great friend," said BYU associate vice president R.J. Snow. "Lynn was a builder. He was always upbeat and a problem-solver."
Snow was a vice president at the University of Utah when Archibald was hired there in the early '80s. Snow enjoyed being reunited with Archibald when they both wound up at BYU years later. "He had a strong impact in the time he was here, especially in recruiting," said Snow. "He made a big contribution."
In addition to BYU and Utah, Archibald's 28-year coaching career included stints at Long Beach State (as an assistant to Jerry Tarkanian), Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Southern Cal and Idaho State, where he landed his first head coaching job in 1978.
In 1983, Archibald arrived at Utah as an assistant to Jerry Pimm. One year later, he was named the Utes' head coach, a position he filled for six years. He compiled a 98-85 record with the Utes.
"We're saddened by his passing and feel sad for his family," said Utah athletic director Chris Hill. "He was way too young to die, and everyone in the athletic department genuinely feels sad at his passing."
University of Utah director of media relations Bruce Woodbury said Archibald was one of the best people he's ever worked with in 25 years at the U.
"Lynn was definitely one of the class guys, not only in college basketball, but in college athletics," he said. "He was a friend to everyone and one of the truly nice guys in the business. Our deepest sympathies go out to Anne and the children."
"He represented the school very well," said former Utah athletic director Arnie Ferrin, who hired Archibald. "He was an excellent recruiter and just an all-around good guy."
Archibald moved on to Arizona State as an assistant before returning to the Beehive State as Roger Reid's assistant at BYU in 1994.
Shortly thereafter, Archibald was diagnosed with cancer. Not wanting to burden others with his illness, Archibald chose to keep it a secret, even, for a time, from his three children. "He wanted them to make their own decisions and develop their independence," said Snow. "He didn't want them hovering around worrying about him.He always put the concerns of others first."
It wasn't until December that Archibald publicly revealed his illness. To some of the BYU players, it came as a shock. Others who had been in the program longer had an idea something was wrong.
Archibald left the coaching staff to take a position as director of basketball operations for the school and was involved in the search that resulted in the hiring of new coach Steve Cleveland.
"He was influential in the search," said Snow. "We asked him to develop of list of candidates and much of the contacts with candidates was done out of his home."
Archibald recruited current Cougar forward Justin Weidauer in the late 1980s when he was at Utah. "If he would have stayed at Utah," said Weidauer, "I probably would have gone there. That's how much I was impressed by him."
Considered a "player's coach," Archibald cultivated close friendships with many of his former athletes.
"I've been thinking a lot about him the last couple of days, and he had more impact on me than I had realized," said Weidauer."He always pushed me to become a better player. I'll really miss him."
In his final few months, Archibald was able to spend quality time with his family and friends, Snow said.
Archibald is survived by his wife of 29 years, Anne, and their three children: Damon, who played at and graduated from Boise State; Lee Anne, who graduated from BYU and works as a personal assistant to David Letterman in New York City; and Beau, who was a freshman basketball player at Washington State last year.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Edgemont Stake Center in Provo. A viewing will take place from 6-9 p.m. Friday at Berg Mortuary in Provo.