TERRE HAUTE —
When Rose-Hulman men’s basketball coach Jim Shaw gets introduced to the Hulman Center crowd before Sunday afternoon’s exhibition game against Indiana State, think of the old saying “time flies when you’re having fun.”
This will mark the 20th season that Shaw has guided the NCAA Division III Engineers. Having compiled a 281-215 record over the previous 19 campaigns, he ranks No. 2 on the institute’s all-time victories list, trailing only John Mutchner and his 340 (1963-88).
Before assuming his current position, Shaw served as an assistant coach to Bill Fenlon (now the man in charge at DePauw) and Bill Perkins for five seasons. And before that, Shaw got his start in the sport as an assistant to Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Rady at Terre Haute South High School in the late 1980s.
When Shaw was first hired to succeed Perkins on the Rose bench in the fall of 1994, it was on an interim basis.
One season later — with more job security — he was coaching the Engineers to an Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship and the first of his five Division III tournament appearances.
Back in 1994, Shaw never thought about how long he’d remain at Rose-Hulman when he took charge of its men’s program.
“You’re just doing the job, doing the best you can and you’re not really looking 20 years down the road,” he reflected before a practice this week. “You’re barely looking 20 minutes down the road.”
Although Shaw didn’t want to talk much about himself, preferring to focus more on his players getting ready for ISU and the start of another regular season Nov. 22 at Washington (St. Louis) University, he did admit that his time at Rose has been gratifying.
“It’s been a great place to work,” he said. “It’s been a great place to coach. Most of all, I’ve had such a great opportunity to work with such wonderful young people. I feel really blessed to have been a part of their lives and have them be a part of mine.”
Turning his attention to the ISU exhibition, Shaw described it as “a first opportunity for each of us to play a game in front of people.”
“Even though there’s an obvious discrepancy in backgrounds and levels, it should be a fun event,” he continued. “It’s a great opportunity for us to play a Division I opponent in a large arena and we’re looking forward to it. And I hope both teams can get a valuable learning experience out of it.”
The last time these programs met for a men’s basketball exhibition was 2010, so Shaw is happy to renew the “crosstown rivalry,” although he doesn’t really consider Indiana State a rival.
“I feel like if we do it every year, the bloom comes off the rose a little bit,” he noted. “So we got away from it. It’s kind of a situation where we see if things can work out on a yearly basis.”
I I I
n Yes, time does fly — Continuing our walk down Memory Lane, today (yes, Nov. 1) marks my 35th anniversary of working for the Tribune-Star.
Before you say I don’t look old enough to have worked anywhere that long, remember that I started when I was 2. (That line never works anymore.)
My early years were spent as a part-time news reporter and obituary writer for the old Terre Haute Star — I even helped cover a well-known murder at the time — then I was switched to part-time sports reporter in the mid-1980s. After that — let’s break out the clichés — the rest is history.
Fame, fortune, glory.
My own parking spot in front of the building?
Still working on that.
Seriously, I’ve had plenty of fun assignments over the years. Here’s a recap of my 10 favorite:
10. South boys in state finals — On March 23, 1991, Terre Haute South played in the IHSAA state finals for boys basketball during the pre-class era.
Coached by Rady and led by senior Brian Evans, the Braves lost to No. 4-ranked Brebeuf 52-39 in the semifinals inside Indianapolis’ Hoosier Dome.
9. Indianapolis-Denver AFC playoff game — On Jan. 9, 2005, the Indianapolis Colts clobbered the Denver Broncos 49-24 in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs inside Indianapolis’ RCA Dome.
Reggie Wayne caught 10 passes for 221 yards, Peyton Manning passed for 457 yards and four touchdowns and ran for one additional TD and the Colts couldn’t have looked better.
8. Indianapolis-Pittsburgh AFC playoff game — On Jan. 15, 2006, Indianapolis cornerback Nick Harper scooped up a Jerome Bettis fumble near the Colts’ goal line and set his sights on sprinting the length of the field for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of a wild AFC second-round playoff game.
But Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the game-saving tackle on Harper and Mike Vanderjagt later missed a 46-yard field goal that would have forced overtime, allowing the Steelers to escape the RCA Dome with a 21-18 victory.
7. Indiana-Orlando NBA playoff game — On June 2, 1995, the Indiana Pacers routed the Shaquille O’Neal-led Orlando Magic 123-96 in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals inside Market Square Arena.
Reggie Miller fired in 36 points for the Pacers that night, although they ended up losing Game 7 at Orlando.
6. Interviewing 1979 NCAA finalists — In 1999, I did a nostalgia series on the 1978-79 Indiana State men’s basketball team that finished 33-1 and lost to Michigan State in the famous NCAA championship game.
I was able to interview almost all of the Sycamores from that team, including then-Pacers coach Larry Bird over the phone. Also for that series, I interviewed Magic Johnson one-on-one in person inside Market Square Arena.
5. North Vermillion, Terre Haute South win girls state titles — On March 2, 2002, North Vermillion (Class A) and Terre Haute South (Class 4A) each won the state championship in girls high school basketball inside Market Square Arena.
In the morning, North Vermillion — guided by Ken Gentrup — slipped past No. 2-ranked Hebron 45-42. At night, the Alan Maroska-coached Braves routed South Bend Riley 63-42 as Reicina Russell posted 31 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
4. Ray-Keene title fight — On Oct. 8, 1994, 12 rounds of brutal, knock-down, drag-out, legalized war ended with Kenny Keene of Idaho winning a controversial majority decision over Terre Haute’s Terry Ray inside Hulman Center.
At stake was Keene’s World Boxing Federation cruiserweight championship, which CBS cared enough about that it televised the matchup live across the country on a Saturday afternoon.
3. ISU beats IU in men’s basketball — On Nov. 29, 2000, senior Michael Menser sank a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left, enabling Indiana State to edge Indiana University 59-58 in men’s basketball inside Hulman Center.
Menser had hit another 3 with nine seconds remaining to pull the Sycamores within 57-56. This was the second straight year that ISU had beaten the Hoosiers.
2. Indianapolis-New England AFC championship game — On Jan. 21, 2007, Tom James and I covered the greatest comeback in NFL conference championship history.
Trailing the New England Patriots 21-6 at halftime of the AFC championship game on a Sunday night inside the RCA Dome, the Indianapolis Colts rallied to win 38-34 and earn a trip to the Super Bowl. When Joseph Addai ran for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, ushers were dancing and high-fiving fans in the crowd.
1. Interviewing my childhood idol — On Aug. 9, 2000, I felt privileged to meet my childhood idol for the first time and write a column about him being in Terre Haute.
With little advance fanfare, Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon “Killer” Killebrew — serving as national spokesperson for VistaCare — came to be honored at a private dinner and visit health-care patients at Wabash Valley hospitals and nursing homes during his two-day stay.
As I wrote back then, learning he was a better person than he was an athlete certainly made my long wait worthwhile.
Sadly, cancer claimed Killebrew’s life in 2011. He was 74.
David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or 812-231-4224; by email at email@example.com; or by fax at 812-231-4321.