PROVO — Ladell Andersen, who made major contributions to both college and professional basketball in the state of Utah, died Sunday in St. George. He was 90. 

Enshrined in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame, Andersen recorded successful tenures as the head basketball coach at Utah State and BYU. He led the Aggies from 1961-1971, posting a 173-96 record and making four NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Elite Eight in 1970. Andersen guided the Cougars from 1983-1989, compiling a 114-71 mark and earning three NCAA Tournament berths.

Andersen began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant under Jack Gardner at Utah from 1956-1961. From 1971-73, Andersen coached the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association, where he won a pair of Western Division titles. 

Between stints with the Stars and the Cougars, Andersen served as USU’s athletic director from 1973-1983. 

After his coaching career, Andersen served as a scout and consultant for the Utah Jazz. 

BYU coach Mark Pope tweeted Sunday night: “Ladell Andersen passed away today. He coached my father-in-law, Lynn Archibald, at Utah State. He led BYU to as high as a #3 ranking in the AP. More importantly, he was beloved by his players and was an extraordinary human being. All of BYU Nation mourns his passing.”

“Ladell loved people. There were a couple of guys on our team that knew if you asked coach questions about a certain person, he’d take up 20 minutes of practice time telling us about him.” — Marty Haws, on Ladell Andersen

“One of the great men in the coaching game. Peace be with the Andersen Family,” tweeted BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. 

BYU All-American Devin Durrant played his senior season under Andersen. 

“I loved playing for coach Andersen. He gave us a lot of freedom. He trusted us on and off the court. You think about his career as a professional coach, he brought some of that to BYU in how he interacted with us and treated us,” Durrant said. “Early on in my senior year, he said, ‘Devin, you take yourself out of the game whenever you choose to and then put yourself back in when you’re ready to go.

“I loved that confidence. I took myself out of a game early in the year and sat there for a minute and thought to myself, ‘What am I doing over here?’ So I quickly put myself back in the game. That was the last time during my senior year I ever took myself out of a game. I appreciated his confidence not only in me but all of the guys.” 

Marty Haws, who played under Andersen for three seasons at BYU, is the father of Tyler Haws, BYU’s all-time leading scorer, and TJ, who currently plays for the Cougars. Haws said Andersen helped shape him both on and off the court. 

“He recruited me out of high school. I went to BYU and that was a big step for me. Ladell gave me confidence that I could play this game,” Haws said. “Ladell taught me so much about basketball that has carried over into my life in the way I parent and the way I have taught Tyler and TJ how to play basketball. He had a special ability to keep the game very simple. He got the most out of his players. I’m forever grateful for how he taught me and gave me confidence.”

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Andersen would draw on his experiences to provide perspective to his players. 

“We used to hear his stories about (Utah State star) Wayne Estes. Ladell loved people. There were a couple of guys on our team that knew if you asked coach questions about a certain person, he’d take up 20 minutes of practice time telling us about him,” Haws said. “He could recall great things about influential people.

“We’d have special guests come to practice — former coaches and people that meant a lot to BYU basketball history. He wanted us to know about people that had an influence on BYU basketball. Those are the things you recall. That’s what you take with you — relationships and what they taught you. It means a lot more than putting the ball through the basket.”