News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

November 3, 2013

Big week ahead for ISU

Star-studded Larry Bird Scholarship Dinner, statue dedication and opening of basketball season all on slate

TERRE HAUTE — Larry Bird fans from near and far will gather at Indiana State University this week to pay tribute to the basketball legend and former Sycamore, who in 1979 took the team to the NCAA Championship game.

The Honoring a Legend events Friday and Saturday will be a 1978-79 reunion of sorts, bringing together fans who watched Bird play at Hulman Center as well as 1978-79 team members who went to Salt Lake City to play against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans in “The Game That Changed The Game.”

A 15-foot-tall bronze statue of Bird will be dedicated on the southwest corner outside Hulman Center at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the season-opening men’s basketball game against Ball State. Bird will be recognized at half-time of the game.

On Friday, ISU will host the largest, single fundraising event in its history with a dinner and program chronicling Bird’s playing career in high school, college and the NBA, as well as his days as a coach and executive with the Pacers.

The event is a fundraiser for the Larry Legend scholarship, which will go to an in-state player on the ISU men’s basketball team.

On Tuesday, Bird’s statue had a preview showing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, coinciding with the Pacers’ season-opener. This week, it will be installed at its permanent home on the ISU campus.

The upcoming weekend events “are pretty exciting for me, personally, as well as for the campus,” said ISU president Dan Bradley. “Larry is without a doubt our most famous alumnus, and the teams from those years are the height of our athletic success.”

Gordon Bryan, a member of the Sycamore Athletic Foundation Board, saw the statue Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “I think people will be absolutely amazed and impressed,” he said. He’s seen artist Bill Wolfe work on the project in his studio, “but I had no idea it was so big.”

That’s also the kind of impact Larry Bird has had on ISU and the community. “He is gigantic for our community,” Bryan said.

He was still in high school when Bird played at ISU, and he went to those games when he could. “It was extremely hard to get a ticket, especially if you were a high school kid without money,” Bryan said. Both on campus and throughout the community, “It was an amazing time … maybe something we can never duplicate.”

He and his wife will attend events Friday and Saturday, as will other Bird fans from Terre Haute and across the country — including big names from Larry Legend’s past and present.

When ISU Foundation staff first began talking about the potential for Honoring a Legend events, “Many of us said, I don’t think you understand — this is Terre Haute, it won’t work. Good luck,” Bryan recalled.

But the response has been impressive, he said. “People will be flooding into the community to support this,” he said.

He also hopes it serves as an inspiration to the current ISU basketball teams. “It shows these kids that they are part of program that has a history. We were playing at the highest level at one time.”

Those involved with Honoring a Legend hope it creates a “wave of momentum” that benefits not only basketball, but the university as a whole, Bryan said.  

Lu Meis, a Terre Haute businessman and friend of Bird, believes Honoring a Legend events “are long overdue.”

He vividly remembers the charged atmosphere back when Bird played at ISU. “It’s the most exciting thing Terre Haute has ever had. They filled up Hulman Center, and on game days, that’s all people talked about.”

It’s never been the same since, Meis said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, what that team did.”

Among the celebrities attending Friday’s dinner/program will be Quinn Buckner and Bill Walton, Bird’s former Celtics teammates, and Bob Love, who played with the Chicago Bulls. The entire 1979 team is expected to attend, and ISU is still awaiting word on whether Magic Johnson will be there.

Greg Lansing, the current ISU men’s basketball coach, described it as an honor to be part of the events. “I think Larry was the best player to ever play here and one of the best ever to play basketball at any level,” Lansing said. “This gives us a chance to recognize him and all he has meant to this university.”

Among those looking forward to Honoring a Legend events is Thomas Lynch, a student from Bird’s hometown of French Lick. He also is director of the Forest, a student pep club for athletics that has about 800 members.

Lynch remembers shaking Bird’s hand once when Bird visited French Lick; Lynch was in elementary school at the time. “It was very exciting — definitely that celebrity moment, getting to meet someone famous,” he recalled.

Of course, in French Lick, Bird’s presence is felt everywhere. Even Springs Valley High School is located on Larry Bird Boulevard. “In French Lick, you hear his name all the time,” Lynch said.

He’s playing a behind-the-scenes role this weekend, getting students and Forest members involved and making sure they understand how important Bird is to ISU.

“It’s a great honor to be a student when ISU finally is getting around to honoring the legend that he is,” Lynch said.

Several Forest members took a bus to the Pacers game Tuesday and got a first-hand look at the Bird statue.

The Forest also has 300 tickets to give to members to attend Friday’s 8:30 p.m. program, and they’ll have seats in the lower bowl of Hulman Center.

All ISU students will be able to get into the program for free, with those upper bowl tickets available starting at noon Friday.

When Lynch first came to ISU, he couldn’t understand why the university lacked the passion and pride that exists for Indiana University athletics. With the Forest, students are working to create that sense of enthusiasm, and membership has grown from 160 last year to 817 this year.

He hopes Bird’s visit will help fuel the fire even more.

Also anticipating the weekend events is Darlene Hantzis, a student in 1979 who flew on the plane with the team to the NCAA Final Four in Salt Lake City.

Now an ISU professor of communication, Hantzis still has a button that reads: ISU NCAA Champs, prepared in the event ISU had won in 1979.

“As far as I’m concerned, and although I was right there watching, we won [my button tells me so],” said Hantzis as she fondly recalled that year.

She’ll attend Friday’s program and Saturday’s statue dedication. “It was the most amazing experience,” she said of that dream season and the team’s trip to the NCAA finals.

Teresa Exline, ISU chief of staff, has coordinated planning for the weekend events. She’s done a lot of research and has learned a lot about Bird she didn’t know — including that the Twitter bird logo is named “Larry” after Larry Bird. A Twitter co-founder grew up outside Boston and was a Celtics fan.

While Exline attended another college when Bird played at ISU, “I watched and cheered for ISU on TV. I can’t imagine what it would have been like” to be on campus at that time, she said.

She was able to secure Larry Bird bobbleheads about a year ago, and those will be given to everyone who attends the dinner or purchases a $133 lower bowl seat to the program.

Also, the downtown Barnes and Noble is selling “I’m a Bird Watcher” T-shirts similar to those available in 1978-79. The price is $15 and part of proceeds will go to the Larry Legend scholarship fund.

Friday’s after-dinner program will be hosted by Jackie MacMullan, ESPN analyst and co-author of Bird’s biography. She previously wrote about Bird and the Celtics when she worked for the Boston Globe.

The program will consist of four quarters, each a segment of Bird’s career: high school, ISU, Celtics and Pacers. If Magic Johnson attends, he’ll be the “overtime” guest.

MacMullan and Bird will be on stage, and during each quarter, guests from that part of his career will be featured. Among those guests will be his former high school coach, Jim Jones, for the first quarter; ISU teammates for the second quarter; Buckner and Walton, third quarter; and representatives of the Pacers for the fourth quarter. The program will be an interview-type format, Exline said.

Bird played for ISU from 1976 to 1979. In 1979, the Sycamores reached the NCAA Championship Game, losing their only contest of the season to Michigan State, 75-64, in Salt Lake City. Bird was the National Player of the Year that season, and the Sycamores finished 33-1.

He was a first-round draft pick by the Boston Celtics after his junior season, but he chose to return to ISU for his senior year. Bird wore No. 33 at ISU, which the university has since retired.

After completing his college career at ISU, Bird went on to become an NBA all-star with the Boston Celtics, an Olympian and an Indiana Pacers coach and executive.

President Bradley said ISU “is very excited to be having him on campus for the events Friday and Saturday and hope he will be a greater part of the university and athletics program going forward.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Indiana State University
  • SPT 041414 ERINN SUTTON2.jpg Driving to victory

    College golf, Indiana State coach Greg Towne indicated Monday afternoon, is all about the process.

    April 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • QFRGGNSQNGORIUF.jpg ISU losing Ragland to Bowling Green St.

    David Ragland was the first person Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing hired to his staff when he became the Sycamores’ head coach in 2010.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thunder Pacers Basket_Tayl.jpg FROM THE PRESSBOX: In Lance the Pacers trust? Why not?

    The trials and tribulations of the Indiana Pacers are well documented.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT 041314 DELLACAMERA.jpg Sycamores just one shot behind in tourney on familiar turf

    Lack of experience in playing a collegiate women’s golf tournament in their own backyard may not be a hindrance for Indiana State, which finds itself one shot out of the lead — and with room to do better — after Sunday’s first round of the Indiana State Spring Invitational at the Country Club of Terre Haute.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ISU pushes run across in 9th to beat SIU — again

    Indiana State scored in the ninth inning for a second game in a row Sunday, breaking a tie to defeat host Southern Illinois and win a closely contested Missouri Valley Conference baseball series.

    April 14, 2014

  • SPT040914ISUBB_kudrecki.jpg Indiana State falls to No. 23-ranked IU 8-4 in baseball

    Indiana State’s baseball team tried to walk a double tightrope this week.
    The degree of difficulty was cranked up significantly as the Sycamores played back-to-back games at Vanderbilt and Indiana, both top 25 teams.

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2

    The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2

    April 9, 2014

  • SPT 040614 TONY ROSSELLI.jpg ISU baseball is deadly with two outs

    One of the many charms of baseball is that there are a thousand different debates about a thousand different topics one can embroil themselves in. One of the most passionate is whether clutch hitting exists.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT 040614 ROSELLI HOMER.jpg ISU dusts off its broom

    Wichita State’s baseball program has been the bellwether of the Missouri Valley Conference for more than a quarter-century. And 2014 is no different. When a team has success against the Shockers, picked to win the league in the preseason coaches’ poll, it still has cachet.

    April 6, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grant Prusator …nd jones 0.jpg Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015

    Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium

    The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

    April 4, 2014

  • SPT012714ISUWBB laramie.jpg Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program

    Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
    But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings

    Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.

    April 2, 2014

  • 20140401_145857.jpg Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball

    The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
    The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC

    Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.

    March 31, 2014

  • SPT 033014 A.J. McELDERRY.jpg Bad day for Sycamores

    Indiana State’s baseball team has had more good days than bad so far this season.
    Sunday, however, was bad in every way.

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT032814 ISUBB hayes.jpg Going the distance: Redbirds ace Savas allows just five hits while shutting down Sycamores

    Indiana State’s pitchers weren’t their best in Friday’s series opener against Illinois State, but it seemed the Sycamores might get away with it. Through seven innings, ISU had issued six walks, gave up six hits and hit a batter, but still trailed by just a run. But ISU’s luck with its generosity would give out in the eighth, and even if it hadn’t, Illinois State standout starter Dan Savas had the Sycamores’ bats in a deep freeze anyway. The Redbirds defeated the Sycamores 5-2 at Bob Warn Field.

    March 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT032614 ISU BB curry.jpg ‘A full night’: Leadoff hitter Curry leads 16-hit attack as Sycamores pound Hoosiers

    Lead-off man Landon Curry had four of Indiana State’s 16 hits Wednesday afternoon, and cleanup hitter Mike Fitzgerald reached for the 17th straight game to lead the Sycamores to a 12-8 victory.

    March 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • ISU committed to making Tonyan a key contributor

    Indiana State’s 1-11 2013 football season was nightmarish in many ways, but one player who had to endure it with eyes more wide open than most was Robert Tonyan Jr.
    Thrust into a much larger role than anticipated at quarterback when Mike Perish was injured in early October, and with injuries occurring all around him as well, the then-redshirt freshman struggled behind center.

    March 26, 2014

  • SPT 032414 ISU FOOTBALL.jpg Fresh start: ISU football team springs into action for coach Sanford’s second season

    Many things change from year one to year two in someone’s coaching regime, but when it comes to football, few things change more dramatically in that span than spring football practice.

    March 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Aces ride leadoff success to series win over ISU

    The leadoff bullets were flying around at Evansville’s Charles Braun Stadium as Indiana State and Evansville locked up in a Missouri Valley Conference baseball series decider on Sunday.

    March 23, 2014

  • SPT 032314 MEGAN STONE DIVE.jpg ISU stretching to improve softball program

    Some are from as far away as California, or Arizona or Iowa. Some played their high school games a little closer to Terre Haute, such as at North Central or Clay City.

    March 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • ISU loses 63-61 to Marquette in WNIT

    After a Jasmine Grier 3-pointer with four seconds on the clock cut Marquette’s lead to two points, a crazy March ending appeared possible as Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir came up with a steal with just more than a second to go Thursday in Hulman Center
    Abdul-Qaadir had momentum going toward the bucket after her steal but couldn’t get the layup off in time as the Sycamores fell in the first round of the Women’s NIT to the Big East squad, 63-61.

    March 20, 2014

  • SPT 031514 LARAMIE SCORE.jpg Second shot: ISU women seeking better shooting, defense against Marquette in WNIT opener

    Defensive continuity, defensive rebounding and better outside shooting are among the keys for Indiana State in a first-round WNIT basketball game against Marquette tonight in Hulman Center.

    March 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • NIT Indiana St Arkan.jpg Sycamores no match for Hogs

    In the wake of Indiana State’s 91-71 Tuesday loss to Arkansas in the National Invitation Tournament, it was obvious to everyone why ISU coach Greg Lansing feared the matchup against the Razorbacks. They just had too much for the Sycamores to handle.

    March 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT031914 ISUSB stone.jpg Metro sports: Alvarez helps ISU softball gain home sweep

    Junior Yvette Alvarez pitched a complete-game win in the opener and hit her first career home run in the second game to lead the Indiana State softball team to a doubleheader sweep in its home opener Wednesday at Price Field.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • ISU2.jpg Sycamores eliminated from NIT by Razorbacks

    Arkansas ended ISU’s men’s basketball season with a 91-71 victory in the National Invitation Tournament.

    March 19, 2014 2 Photos 1 Link

  • ISU women's basketball team upbeat getting ready for Marquette

    The disposition of the Indiana State women’s basketball team was upbeat Tuesday as the Sycamores prepare for a WNIT showdown with Marquette on Thursday in Hulman Center.
    Two days off after returning from St. Charles, Mo., where top-seeded ISU was upset by fifth-seeded Drake, ISU coach Teri Moren prepared her team to get a postseason victory.

    March 19, 2014

  • SPT031714odum run.jpg A rapid pace: Arkansas style presents challenge for Sycamores

    Jake Odum has started at point guard for four years at Indiana State. He can claim as much as any Sycamore — past or present — that he’s seen it all. But even Odum hasn’t seen a team attack the game and attack their opponent quite like Arkansas does.

    March 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • ISU women to host Marquette on Thursday in WNIT

    Indiana State’s women’s basketball team will host Marquette on Thursday in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, the Sycamores learned late Monday night.

    March 18, 2014

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