News From Terre Haute, Indiana

From the Press Box

March 31, 2013

FROM THE PRESSBOX: Content McKenna has enjoyed seeing ISU's progress

INDIANAPOLIS — It all happened so fast in June 2010.

One minute, Kevin McKenna was head coach of the Indiana State men’s basketball program. Then — poof! — he was gone.

McKenna resigned from his head coaching position at ISU on June 13, 2010 to take an assistant coach position on Dana Altman’s then-burgeoning University of Oregon staff.

And other than a statement he released via Oregon at the time he was hired by Altman, McKenna really was gone.  He came back to Terre Haute a few times to attend to his affairs and both of his children — Megan and Bobby — remained in Indiana after he departed.

But as far as the public is concerned, McKenna’s break with ISU and the Terre Haute community was Keyser Soze-like in its thoroughness. Part of it was that he was in the far away Pacific Northwest, part of is that Greg Lansing was/is a long-time popular fixture and took ISU to the NCAA Tournament in his first season.

But most of it is simply that McKenna was from the start and to the end a very private man as far as the public is concerned.

McKenna never really said goodbye to ISU and that’s kind of a shame because he did get ISU pointed in the right direction. You have to go back to Bob King in 1978 to find an ISU coach who left with a winning record in his final season as McKenna did after a 17-15 season in 2010. The Sycamores were 43-52 overall in McKenna’s three seasons at the helm.

There were some ISU fans upset at the time that he left ISU’s head coach position to take an assistant coaching position. I think most fans understood — either at the time or as time passed — that he was more comfortable in this position he took at Oregon.

He was also getting more money. McKenna is being paid $300,000 this season according to the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard, $100,000 more than he was being paid by ISU. Until ISU demonstrates that it can pay closer to market value for head coaches, these things will happen, and one can’t really blame McKenna for that.

To my knowledge, McKenna never spoke to the local media about his departure at the time. Full disclosure: McKenna and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye — and that’s putting it mildly at various junctures of his three years — but that’s normal for coaches and the media to clash. I don’t hold any grudges.

Given all of that, it was good to see McKenna relaxed and content at Lucas Oil Stadium late Friday night, even in the wake of Oregon’s 77-69 loss to Louisville in the Midwest Regional semifinal. With the Ducks playing in the Sweet 16, it’s obviously a happy place for McKenna to be.

“We started off really well at the beginning, we had a few bumps, like every team does, we lost our point guard [Dominic Artis] for nine games and it took a while to get re-adjusted when he came,” McKenna said. “We played really well in the conference tournament and really well against Oklahoma State and Saint Louis and for about 20 minutes [Friday]. Louisville is really tough, athletic and fast and just get stuck on our heels early.”

From 21-18 in 2011, to 24-10 in 2012, to 28-9 and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2013, the Ducks have improved in each of Altman’s seasons. Oregon was under-seeded as a No. 12 in the Midwest Region, but proved the NCAA selection committee wrong by beating Oklahoma State and Saint Louis.

“Our first couple of years we felt like we were just trying to get competitive to attract some players up there. I think we showed we have some good players. We have a pair of freshman guards [Artis and Damyean Dotson] who really came along and that’ll be really good down the road,” McKenna said. “We’ve got great resources. Obviously, Nike is right up the street and does a great job. Mr. [Phil] Knight does a great job of supporting us and coming to our games and being a good donor to our program.”

As for ISU, McKenna stated Friday what he stated in 2010, that the move to Oregon to join Altman’s staff was a career-move he felt was in his best interest to make.

“From my standpoint, it was a good change. I miss a lot of things about Indiana State and Terre Haute, but for my career, it’s been very good for me,” McKenna said.

It doesn’t mean he doesn’t keep tabs on his former team. Three Sycamores — Lucas Eitel, Jake Odum and R.J. Mahurin — were signed by McKenna and sat out their true freshman seasons as redshirts during McKenna’s final season at ISU.

“Whenever they’re on TV, I try to catch their games. Obviously, Greg and Lou [Gudino, now ISU’s associate head coach, who was hired by McKenna in 2007] have done a really nice job there,” McKenna said.

“Those guys I brought to Indiana State, I’ve really liked the progress that Jake has made over the years. R.J. and a lot of those guys who redshirted and weren’t playing for us then have really proven out to be good players and really good representatives for Indiana State,” he added.

McKenna has kept tabs on the changes in the Missouri Valley Conference too. His alma mater, Creighton, is leaving the MVC for the rebooted Big East next season. McKenna was an All-MVC second team player for the Bluejays in 1980 and 1981 and was part of two successful staffs under Altman at Creighton in the 1990s and 2000s.

“Creighton leaving? It’s going to be a step up for them for sure. With the way the landscape has changed, nothing surprises me anymore. Where can a school feel like they get the best economic situation for their school? Loyalty goes by the wayside sometimes, but I think the Valley will survive and still continue to be a quality basketball league,” McKenna said.

And he feels ISU can be a contender within the new-look MVC.

“It’s a totally different landscape now with Creighton having been one of the better programs over the years in the league. There’s going to be a shift of power. With the guys that ISU has coming back, they can be right in the middle of it next year. Jake is a big part of that and gets the team going in the right direction. Greg’s done a good job bringing in talent there,” McKenna said.

Meanwhile, McKenna will keep helping Oregon to try and do the same in the Pac-12 Conference. He seemed happy — and at the end of the day — that’s all that really matters. Good luck to him.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Follow Golden on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
From the Press Box
  • SPT 101406 WALTMAN PRACTIC.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Waltman's integrity helped him rise to the top

    When I began to think about former Indiana State coach Royce Waltman — and I’ve thought about him a lot in recent months as the ravages of a stroke and cancer robbed us of his presence — I thought to myself “what can I print?”
    Waltman was many things. Blunt, plain-spoken, unfiltered? All of the above and more. Every Indiana State fan saw Waltman in action … and I had a front row seat for three years right next to him on press row.

    April 8, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • SPT 040514 COACH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Missouri Valley is tough — ISU making it tougher

    For those who measure the quality of a conference by their place in the Ratings Percentage Index, it was a tough year for the Missouri Valley Conference and its marquee sport: men’s basketball.
    The MVC was 11th in conference RPI and took all manner of criticism when Wichita State ran the MVC table for a perfect 18-0 season. The fingers that pointed at the league for fielding a weak challenge to the Shockers’ dominance were many.

    April 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: ISU's no-excuses approach for real

    If you were to ask me what the drawback of covering Indiana State baseball is? I’d be hard-pressed to name very much.

    March 29, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM BAKER.jpg Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best

    It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.

    March 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT 030814 ODUM GRAB.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge

    When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.

    March 9, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • MBBMock_packagephoto.jpg From The Press Box: The nuts and bolts of compiling a Mock Selection for the NCAA Tournament

    Before March Madness comes the March mystery of the run-up to Selection Sunday.

    February 17, 2014 3 Photos 1 Link

  • SPT 020514 ISU FANS STAND.jpg From the Press Box: Loss couldn’t ruin great day for ISU, Terre Haute

    When I write, and when I can, I like to give myself a bit of time to soak in what I’m going to write about. After Indiana State’s 65-58 loss to No. 4 Wichita State on Wednesday, I went home, had a bite to eat and pondered what I thought the night was all about.
    I knew ISU’s disappointment cut deep. Really deep. A cruel reality of sports is that losses linger on in the memory with greater resonance than wins often do. Given the shots that rattled out, fell short and missed the mark in the final five minutes, this is a defeat that will, sadly, dog the Sycamores tonight, tomorrow and 20 years from now.

    February 6, 2014 2 Photos

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Little to lose, a lot to gain for Indiana State

    It’s hard not to get excited about today’s Missouri Valley Conference summit meeting between co-leaders Indiana State and Wichita State. Who wouldn’t be?

    January 17, 2014

  • From the Press Box: I’ve seen the enemy … and it’s the double bonus

    I’ve seen the enemy.
    I’ve seen it turn the game of basketball from one of exciting flow into a nonstop parade of tedium. I’ve seen it morph hundreds of what would-be thrilling, last-minute, end-to-end conclusions into foul shooting exhibitions that suck the life out of a gym or arena near you.
    It’s the double bonus. It’s a scourge, one that is often overlooked when ideas on how to make the game more entertaining or to speed the game up are put forth.

    January 3, 2014

  • tsgolden From The Press Box: If ISU figures out defense, look out

    The Great Alaska Shootout is not going to provide the Great RPI Bump that Indiana State’s participation in last year’s Diamond Head Classic provided.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • From the Press Box: Damage is done for ISU football

    As a parent and a professional, there’s a bit of advice I’ve tried to pass along that I’ve found to be true.
    No matter what you happen to be doing — whether it be job performance or just your own personal behavior — you can do the right thing for a period of time, even the vast majority of the time, but all it takes is one slip and the goodwill you’ve built up can be gone in one fell swoop.
     

    November 24, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Munn, Odum want to make paper accomplishment a real one

    When it comes to Missouri Valley Conference Media Day, it has historically been a kick in the gut for Indiana State's basketball teams.
    But not this year. For the first time since formal MVC preseason polls began in the mid-1980s, the Sycamores rule the MVC roost.

    October 31, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Colts fans paid Manning ultimate tribute

    Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis was many things — the return of a beloved prodigal son, a battle of Colts’ No. 1-draft-pick quarterbacks and last, but not least, the visit from one of the AFC’s last reminaing undefeated teams — but most of all, it could have been a battle for the Colts’ fans soul.

    October 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • From The Press Box: ISU in top 2 of top-heavy MVC

    Change doesn’t often come to Missouri Valley Conference basketball. Until this season, it had endured with the same 10 members since the mid-1990s. But the reality of conference realignment finally hit the MVC where it lived last spring as Creighton departed for the new Big East Conference. The MVC responded by adding Loyola University.

    October 13, 2013

  • USDvISfb-84468.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Sycamores shocked by 1-5 start to season

    It was a play that not only symbolized Indiana State’s 17-14 loss at South Dakota on Saturday, but perhaps the Sycamores’ entire season.
    Down three with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, ISU faced third-and-9 from its own 39. ISU ran Shakir Bell to the left and the senior standout had daylight.

    October 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT 091513 GRIMES PICK.jpg From The Press Box: An avoidable loss

    It couldn’t last forever.

    September 15, 2013 3 Photos

  • From The Press Box: Colts dodge bullets ... it's what they do

    Just a few minutes into the second quarter, it seemed Colts fans could kick back and enjoy a Sunday on Easy Street.

    September 9, 2013

  • SPT 090713 SANFORD HAZELL.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Indiana State proves plenty in 20-14 loss at Purdue

    No moral victories?
    Bull. Its always been bull and it will always be bull. The Sycamores proved again that moral victories are very real, and can be very rewarding.
    All they needed to do to prove it was to look at the stunned faces of the Purdue faithful at Ross-Ade Stadium in the Sycamores’ near-miss 20-14 loss to Purdue.

    September 8, 2013 4 Photos

  • From the Press Box: Stipends? No. Off-field income? Oh yeah, bring it on

    The war flags have been raised. The trumpets have sounded.
    With the Johnny Manziel autograph hullabaloo and the ongoing Ed O’Bannon suit against the NCAA for using his likeness as background, many have rallied to the battle standard of stipends as a means of compensating NCAA athletes who are allegedly being exploited for income by their universities.
    This rally cry has a particular resonance among those in my profession, many of whom dislike the current system, and who detest the NCAA with a virulent passion.

    August 15, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Golf ... the beast within?

    Like many sports fans, my interest in professional golf is confined to the four major tournaments. Many prefer the Masters, some like the back-to-roots British Open, but I’ve always liked the U.S. Open the best.

    June 16, 2013

  • McNichols and Swift 1.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Close, but no cigar, theme for ISU sports in 2012-13

    When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
    Maybe the prospect of ISU’s season had me so pumped that I decided to get it started close to three hours early? (Or more truthfully, maybe I was over-vigilent about predicted traffic horrors on the Indiana 46 bypass that never came to pass.)

    June 9, 2013 4 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet

    If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.

    May 16, 2013

  • FROM THE PRESSBOX: Content McKenna has enjoyed seeing ISU's progress

    It all happened so fast in June 2010.
    One minute, Kevin McKenna was head coach of the Indiana State men’s basketball program. Then — poof! — he was gone.
    McKenna resigned from his head coaching position at ISU on June 13, 2010 to take an assistant coach position on Dana Altman’s then-burgeoning University of Oregon staff.

    March 31, 2013

  • MVC can't wait on Crieghton to move forward

    Will they go or not? That’s been the question that the Missouri Valley Conference and Creighton have been faced with since rumors of the Bluejays’ potential exit went public in December.

    March 15, 2013

  • SPT 020613 ISU 3 JUBI.jpg FROM THE PRESSBOX: Can Sycamores reverse fortunes heading into MVC Tournament?

    Mastery of a basketball season comes in many forms. Mostly, it comes in forms that involve avoidance of turnovers, anemic scoring and poor defense.
    The mechanics of X-and-O success in basketball are obvious, but what’s often overlooked in building a successful campaign is managing the rhythm of the season, which is the hardest thing of all.

    March 6, 2013 1 Photo

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Accountability isn't Lansing's alone in ISU's recent struggles

    Taking ownership has always been one of Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing’s strengths.
    When ISU has lost games in his three seasons at the helm that it was expected to win, Lansing has always been willing to fall on the sword and take blame for it.

    February 17, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Indiana State has far more occasions to rise to

    Rejoice, Indiana State basketball fans. The Sycamores’ 68-55 victory at No. 15 Wichita State on Tuesday is worthy of celebration.

    January 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT012613 ISUMBBmhurin1.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Big plays in last 10 minutes story of the season for Indiana State

    You’d think I’d have learned by now.
    It’s 20 games into Indiana State’s men’s basketball season and I still expect the Sycamores’ offense operate like a well-oiled machine from the opening tip.

    January 27, 2013 4 Photos

  • Sycamores blossom on Hawaii trip

    Quick quiz … what’s the state flower of Hawaii?
    Don’t worry. I can’t just rattle state flowers off the top of my head. I had to look it up too, even though I’ve seen them all over the place in Honolulu.
    I didn’t even know that Indiana’s state flower is the peony, which replaced the apparently unloved zinnia in the 1950s.
    Hawaii’s flower, and they’re ubiquitous in Waikiki tourist shops and in actual flora on Oahu, is the yellow hibiscus.
    The yellow hibiscus is big, bold and bright. I’ve never seen one blossom, but I imagine it has to be a beautiful sight.
    What I have seen blossom — and it’s the only reason flowers would be brought up in my column — is the Indiana State basketball team at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

    December 25, 2012

  • TODD GOLDEN: ISU needs to have its realignment head on a swivel

    Have you ever driven past a cow pasture during a severe thunderstorm? If it’s really bad, the cows will congregate in a herd to protect themselves from the tumult.

    December 17, 2012

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity