TERRE HAUTE —
Basketball excellence is the most obvious that ties together the 2012 Indiana State Athletic Hall of Fame induction class.
But Melanie Boeglin, Nate Green, Michael Menser and Matt Renn share more than that. They share similar bonds.
A bond with their teammates and former coaches. A bond with their university and a bond with Terre Haute.
All four inductees expressed it during Thursday’s induction ceremony at the Sycamore Banquet Center in the Hulman Memorial Student Union.
“Growing up in the Terre Haute community, it was always a dream of mine to be a part of the ISU program. I had a phenomenal career here, but not necessarily because of the wins and losses, more so the people the people that I surrounded myself with. The coaches, the teammates, the community and the awesome fans,” Boeglin said.
Boeglin was formally inducted first as she became the 10th ISU women’s basketball player to join the Hall of Fame. Boeglin played from 2002-06. She led ISU to the 2006 Missouri Valley Conference championship and won the Jackie Stiles Player of the Year Award that season.
Boeglin holds ten ISU records. She is ISU’s career leader in steals (436), assists (685), points in a season (600 in 2006) and points in a game (46 at Drake on Jan. 26, 2006) among other things.
ISU women’s basketball was must-see when Boeglin and her teammates (many of whom were at the ceremony) graced Hulman Center. Boeglin, a Terre Haute native who was part of a state-title winning team at Terre Haute South, always appreciated the support she got from the community.
“Looking back on it, and having had the chance to see what I’ve seen as a coach and to see other programs, to see the fan support that other programs have in the women’s environment, what we had in Terre Haute was so special. You just don’t see that kind of support for women’s sports. Even though I’m not too far removed, I can look back and see how special it was,” Boeglin said.
Green, Menser and Renn came next. It was appropriate that they were inducted in the same class given that their careers dovetail into one memorable whole for many ISU fans.
Green, a Des Moines, Iowa native, came to ISU first and was recruited by then-assistant coach and current ISU head coach Greg Lansing.
Green, a point guard, played from 1996-2000. Along with Renn and Menser, he was part of ISU’s last Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship team in 2000. Green is also ISU’s most recent men’s MVC Most Valuable Player.
Green still holds the ISU record for steals (240) and is fourth in blocks (109) and assists (496), but he was more reflective about the culture of family that he, his teammates and the coaching staff created.
“What coach [Royce] Waltman built here is more than a program, it’s a family. These guys grew up together in college. Now our kids play together,” Green said. “The common denominator is coach Waltman. It goes much deeper than just basketball.”
Menser and Renn both played at ISU from 1997-2001. In an ISU context, their names can barely be mentioned without the other’s name being mentioned with it. “Menser-Renn” has become ubiquitous when it comes to describing ISU’s NCAA Tournament era in 2000 and 2001.
“We’re linked together for a lot of reasons. Nate, Michael and I were teammates, but we were close off the floor too, and we’re close for what our teams were able to accomplish,” Renn said.
Menser is ISU’s school record holder for 3-point field goals made (283). He is fourth in steals (188) and fifth in assists (184).
“The three of us going in together exemplifies what we’re about. The reason we’re going we’re going into the Hall of Fame is because of our success as a team,” Menser said.
Renn twice led ISU in scoring and rebounding and ISU’s fourth-best career rebounder (789), fifth in steals (165), seventh in assists (426) and ninth in points (1,347). What pleased the ISU men’s trio was the presence of Waltman and former assistant coaches Dick Bender (now at Clemson), Kareem Richardson (now at Louisville) and Lansing.
“I get to see my family a lot, and I was excited they were here, but I don’t know any more excited to see the assistant coaches. They have their own seasons, so I don’t get to see them. I haven’t seen coach Bender in years and coach Richardson for a while. It’s hard for people who didn’t play sports to understand that coach-athlete relationship,” Renn said.
All talked about Waltman’s mantra of “team, team, team.” Waltman was proud to be there for his former players and it seemed appropriate that many of Green, Renn and Menser’s former teammates were there to honor the trio.
“I was so thrilled to see the three of them go in together. That seldom happens that you have three players off a single team be inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s a great tribute to them. I coached basketball for 45 years, I loved it, I miss it everyday, but I never had as much fun as I did in those years when those guys were playing,” Waltman said.
Lansing was an assistant coach at ISU until 1999 and he played a role in recruiting all three of the men’s inductees. As head coach nearly a decade later, Lansing has seen Green, Menser and Renn grow into adults who have embraced the ISU and Terre Haute communities.
“They’re not just Hall of Fame players, they’re Hall of Fame people. They’re still in the community representing Indiana State and they’re proud to be Sycamores. It all falls back on coach Waltman and his tenure here and the things he developed. What he did and what those guys did will live on forever,” Lansing said.
Community is a common bond that all four inductees share. All four live or have roots in Terre Haute. All are proud to continue to represent Terre Haute beyond their playing careers.
“We’re in the community because the community embraced us and we enjoy the community and wanted to have our families grow up in Terre Haute. The community took us in and we couldn’t be more happy to be a part of the Terre Haute family,” Menser said.