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Oregon Ducks Men’s Hoops History Update

UO won the first NCAA men's basketball national championship in 1939

Posted on April 9, 2024

  By SuperWest Sports Staff

In this series of updates on the history of SuperWest men’s hoops program, we provide a brief coaching summary and a list of the current coaches, along with postseason results, regular-season conference titles, award winners, and all-time coaching records.

Oregon won the first NCAA men’s basketball national championship and has made the NCAA tournament 17 times, winning eight conference championships, and producing 18 All-Americans.

Howard Hobson, a former Duck player, was hired in 1935 and led Oregon to the inaugural National Championship with a team known as the “Tall Firs.”

Former Duck coaching great Howard Hobson | Oregon Athletics

He was also the first coach to win major college championships on both coasts (at Oregon and Yale). He pioneered intersectional play, with the Ducks becoming the first West Coast team to travel East for games.

Hobson was named president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 1947.

After 24 years of less-than-stellar basketball, Oregon hired Dick Harter away from Penn, where he went 50-3 in his final two years.

Former Oregon coach Dick Harter |Jim Vincent/the Oregonian

Harter brought a tough and unique brand of basketball to Eugene, and his teams were known as the “Kamikaze Kids” for their scrappy play and swarming defense.

He led the Ducks to the Final Four of the NIT two straight years, in 1976 and 1977, and was named Pac-8 Coach of the Year in 1977.

After a 19-year lapse and five-straight losing seasons, former Harter player Ernie Kent took the reins in 1997, becoming the first black coach in the history of Oregon athletics.

He won more games in his 14 years in Eugene than any other Duck coach before him, taking the Ducks to the NCAA Tournament five times.

Former Oregon coach Ernie Kent and his son Jordan | The Oregonian

Kent’s teams reached the Elite Eight in 2002 and 2007, marking Oregon’s deepest run in the NCAA Tournament in 42 years.

He remains the second-winningest coach in program history with an overall record of 235-173.

The hiring of Dana Altman coincided with the construction of Matthew Knight Arena, and he has made it an exceptionally difficult place to play, becoming the winningest coach in the history of Oregon basketball.

Altman has led the Ducks to four conference titles and seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Elite Eight in 2016 as a No. 1 seed, and the Final Four in 2017, winning 20+ games in 12 straight years.

He has been named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year three times, in 2013, 2015, and 2016, and the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year in 2013, while compiling a record of 300-124.

Altman signed a three-year extension in 2019, worth $3.5 million annually, and a one-year extension in 2021 that will pay him $4 million in the 2026-27 season.

In 2022-23, he ran his streak of consecutive 20+ win seasons to 13, going 21-15, despite missing the NCAA tournament for a second straight year.

Altman pulled off another late-season turnaround, for which he has become known, in 2023-24, logging his 14th-straight 20+ win season, and taking the Ducks to his fourth Pac-12 Tournament Championship.

Oregon advanced to the Round of 32 in Altman’s ninth NCAA Tournament, losing a close one to Creighton in double-overtime.

University of Oregon (Eugene, OR)

Matthew Knight Arena

Current Coaching Staff
Current head coach: Dana Altman (2010-present)
Assistant: Mike Mennenga (2014-present)
Assistant: Louis Rowe (2023-present)
Assistant: Brian Fish (2010-2014, 2022-present)
Director of Player Development: Kevin McKenna (2010-present)

Postseason Results
National Championships: 1 (1939)
Final Four Appearances: 2 (1939, 2017)
Elite Eight Appearances: 7 (1939, 1945, 1960, 2002, 2007, 2016, 20170
Sweet Sixteen Appearances: 8 (1960, 2002, 2007, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021)
NCAA Tournament Appearances: 18 (1939, 1945, 1960, 1961, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2024)
NCAA Tournament Overall Record: 27-17
NIT Championships: 0
NIT Appearances: 13 (1975, 1976, 1977, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2012, 2018, 2022, 2023)
NIT Overall Record: 17-14
CBI Championships: 1 (2011)
CBI Appearances: 1 (2011)
CBI Overall Record: 5-1

Conference Titles (PCC through Pac-12)
Pac-12 Regular Season Championships: 8 (1919, 1939, 1945, 2002, 2016, 2017, 2020, 2021)
Pac-12 Tournament Championships: 6 (2003, 2007, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2024)

Award Winners

Naismith Player of the Year: 0
John R. Wooden Award: 0
Oscar Robertson Trophy: 0
AP All-Americans: 7 (Chris Duarte, 2021; Payton Pritchard, 2020; Dillon Brooks, 2017; Aaron Brooks, 2007; Luke Jackson, 2004; Ron Lee, 1976 & 1975 )
Pac-12 Player of the Year: 6 (Payton Pritchard, 2020; Dillon Brooks, 2017; Joe Young, 2015; Luke Ridnour, 2003; Terrell Brandon, 1991; Ron Lee, 1976)

Oregon Head Coaching Records

Dana Altman2010-Present345-152490
Ernie Kent1997-2010235-173150
Jerry Green1992-199773-69010
Don Monson1983-1992116-145000
Jim Haney1978-198353-82000
Dick Harter1971-1978113-81000
Steve Belko1956-1971179-211020
Bill Borcher1951-195669-68000
John Warren1944-1945
Howard Hobson1935-1944
William Reinhart1923-1935180-1010
George Bohler1920-192337-390
Shy Huntington1919-19208-90
Dean Walker1918-191913-41
Bill Hayward1909-191334-290
Charles Murphy1907-19088-9
Hugo Bezdek1906-1907
Walter Winslow1905-19060-5
Charles Burden1902-19040-6

—More from Staff—