News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 26, 2012

AMEY TAKES AIM: ISU reunion raises more questions than answers

Andy Amey
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — One of the wrestlers I used to hang out with occasionally claimed to be a pretty good second-story man — although he may have just been talking, since I never saw any of the goods — and it was with him in mind that I was able to get access to the Indiana State Wrestling Alumni Reunion late Saturday night.

For the record, no breaking was involved, although obviously there was some entering, thanks to some cooperative ISU Union personnel who will remain unidentified because they may not have been authorized to be so helpful. No climbing was involved either.

(Note to self: write something pretty soon that doesn’t involve skirting the bounds of propriety.)

I’m pretty sure my invitation to the event is a standing one, however, so I had to get there when I could. These guys, for an obvious reason, are not getting any younger.

My lateness caused me to miss a few of the guys who were on their way to liquid refreshment — will there be any kind of ISU reunions if the Bally ever shuts down? — but Greg Archer and Fran McCann were still happy to sit down for more than an hour and tell stories (no arm twisting was necessary) after the crowd cleared out.

And there are no boring stories about ISU wrestling, even though Greg and Fran might be just as happy if I left some of mine out of print.

(Just a tease: without former Sycamore star Chico Lutes, for example, my friend TV and I would never have been able to pet those elephants.)

I missed a chance to talk to Maurice Bosstick, who is 88 now and was leaving as I arrived. If I understood Greg correctly, Maurice got one of the Circle of Excellence Awards presented that night — fitting, since he entered ISU at the age of 38, never having wrestled in his life, and was a multi-year All-American in both wrestling and football.

Yes, the late Chuck Sanders was a pretty good coach.

Maurice preceded me at ISU, and so did Rolland Beckham, another with All-America credentials in both those sports. I was fortunate enough to share conversation with both Rolland and the great Dick Humphries on Saturday, a night that brought up more questions than answers.

Question No. 1 — Greg brings this one up ahead of me, but I certainly agree with him: why aren’t Maurice and Rolland and Dick and Bob Pychinka and several others in the ISU Hall of Fame? It’s like their accomplishments have been swept under the rug because …

Question No. 2 — Why were the old pictures of past All-Americans and other greats removed from the ISU Arena? This was brought up by Dick, who had brought his family to see those pictures (including at least one of himself) a while back, only to be disappointed. Gymnastics photos are gone too, I’m told, and who knows what else.

History did not begin in 1986.

Question No. 3 — Where will all the high school coaches come from? Rolland pointed out that ISU alum Scott Vlink probably still has the best program in the state at Crown Point, but there are no new Sycamore alumni to challenge him.

Like I indicated, more questions than answers from as dedicated a group of ISU alumni that I’m aware of. Wish they still had something to root for.

• Not my vote — Former Chicago Cubs third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, a good ballplayer and an incredibly courageous human being who never gave in to the diabetes that plagued him his entire life.

I wouldn’t have voted for him though. Not sure a lot of us who still remember 1969 would have.

The statisticians who have taken over the game today claim there is no such thing as a clutch performance, but I would disagree, and I would love to get a breakdown of Santo’s batting average when the Cubs were ahead as opposed to when they were behind.

The manic-depressive aspect of his personality that made him so beloved as a broadcaster with his heart on his sleeve — who can forget the “Oh NOOOO!” when Brant Brown dropped the fly ball in 1998? — was with him as a player too, I always thought. Yes, he’d be clicking his heels after a win, but he’d be almost useless if the Cubs were behind — and, in my mind, one of the reasons the team choked so badly in September of that year.

Most will remember him as a great guy, but Don Young probably won’t. Same reason.

Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321. Follow TribStarAndy on Twitter.