News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

November 9, 2013

TODD GOLDEN: Great to see Bird inside his house at Indiana State

TERRE HAUTE — I don’t know Larry Bird and it would be extraordinarily foolish for me to pretend to be an expert on his mood, but some impressions don’t lie, and as I watched the Indiana State legend be honored with a beautiful 15-foot statue by his alma mater on Saturday at Hulman Center, I saw someone who seemed at ease in his time, and especially, his place.

Memories came back easy for Bird … as did smiles. He kibitzed with friends and well-wishers before, during and after his statue was dedicated in a well-attended morning ceremony.

He hung out in the Hulman Center Varsity Club before the game as any other alum might. He sat front-and-center with long-time friend Greg Gibson in the courtside seats at Hulman Center, and for two hours, he was a fan as much as any of the other 7,221 on-hand as he watched ISU defeat in-state rival Ball State 82-73.

When the statue itself was unveiled, I was fortunate enough to have a vantage point where I could see Bird’s reaction. He was genuinely moved, and after that first sense of awe drained from his face, he wore a big smile as he expressed his thanks to sculptor Bill Wolfe.

It felt right. It felt like Bird was home. ISU and Terre Haute threw their doors open for their favorite son and it seemed Bird was happy to step right in and feel the love.

Adoration is nothing new for Bird of course. His greatness as a basketball player has demanded it ever since that iconic 1979 season that placed himself and ISU into college basketball immortality. ISU wanted to pay its respect with a statue and a scholarship fund and Bird was more than happy to reciprocate.

“I’ll never be comfortable about [being honored], but this is part of who I am and what I do. If somebody wants to show you a ton of respect you’ve got to reply. I’ll never be comfortable being in the spotlight because I know how many people have helped me along the way,” Bird said.

“I’ve had some awful good folks and some awful good teammates. They always say if you have good people around you good things will happen. That’s what’s happened with me my whole career,” Bird added.

The Bird ceremony was well-done on Saturday, but I don’t think I’m out of bounds in saying that most ISU fans would love if Bird could come back to ISU and enjoy himself without pomp and circumstance. Without a spotlight. To just be Larry, the guy who felt so comfortable in Terre Haute all those years ago, and which helped him decide to become a Sycamore in the first place.

An ideal scenario would be for Bird to come back when he wanted to, relax, take in a game, and just be himself in a place that’s been good to him and loves him unconditionally. To be part of the ISU fabric beyond just the legendary shadow his playing career will always cast.

It seemed that Bird felt the pull. In both his public comments and those to the media, he was unfailing in his praise of both ISU and Terre Haute.

“Terre Haute’s always been good to me. It was the right fit. I liked the campus. I liked the school. I met a lot of people in the community. We did a lot of charity work. [Former ISU coach] Bob King insisted on us doing charity work. I feel very comfortable here, and if I feel comfortable in a place, I usually do really well,” Bird said.

Bird, of course, does have the small matter of his day job as President of the Indiana Pacers. Fitting in ISU games isn’t easy when you’re trying to build a team into the NBA powerhouse the unbeaten Pacers have become. Aside from a one-year retirement during the 2012-13 season, Bird has been busy with Pacers duties for the last decade. Given that, it’s easy to understand why he hasn’t taken in a game since his number was retired in 2004.

Bird wasn’t having it though. He said his Pacers’ duties are no excuse for not gracing his alma mater with his presence.

“Now that our team is pretty well set, I might have more freedom than I did. We put a lot of hours in, but I ain’t going to blame [not coming to ISU games] on my job. Really it was me not getting in the car and getting over here. It’s not that far so I can’t blame anything but myself,” Bird said.

I don’t think any ISU fans blame Bird at all. He’s more than earned the right to come and go as he pleases. The love for him will always be here, it will always be unconditional, and I’m sure he knows it.

“This is the place I need to come. This is the place for me. I don’t think I was in Terre Haute until I came to visit here, but when I left, it was with sadness. I loaded up my car, took off for Boston and it was a sad day. Now I can come anytime I want to. It makes it easier,” Bird said.

The door will always be open. Come back anytime you want to Larry. This is a place you can always feel right at home and feel the love.

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.

 

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Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis Catch me if you can: Terre Haute South's Justin Jenkins takes a lead off first base while Northview's Jacob Harden holds him close. Nathan Thomas is on the mound for the Knights.

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    When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational

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    April 19, 2014

  • Stout home run sparks South softball at Sullivan

    Terre Haute South junior Mariah Stout made her father proud and helped her team win its eighth game of the season at the same time Friday evening.
    With the previously flat-looking Braves trailing host Sullivan 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the second inning, Stout woke up her dugout mates by hammering a McKenzie Pirtle pitch over the fence in left-center field for a score-tying home run.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series

    The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
    The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.

    April 19, 2014

  • Terre Haute North baseball cruises past Warren Central

    Terre Haute North swept a high school baseball doubleheader against Warren Central on Friday night by scores of 14-1 and 10-4.

    April 19, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Sollars, Morrison lead West Vigo softball to win

    Kaitlyn Sollars had a double, triple and four runs batted in and winning pitcher Leah Morrison contributed a pair of triples and a double to lead visiting West Vigo over Riverton Parke 14-1 in high school softball.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041714 WV BB shaffer.jpg West Vigo baseball wins in rout

    When Brandin Behringer drove in his first run Thursday evening, it gave West Vigo a short-lived lead in nonconference high school baseball.
    The remainder of the Viking senior’s RBIs came four at a time in the bottom of the fourth inning, his grand-slam homer capping the second of consecutive seven-run innings that sent his team to a 15-3 win over visiting North Vermillion.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • College Report: Haley Chambers making noise in OVC softball circles

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    Former Riverton Parke and Cascade standout pitcher Haley Chambers was recognized for a string of dominant performances in the circle by being named Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Colts take another look at Shakir Bell

    Under general manager Ryan Grigson, the Indianapolis Colts have searched nationally and internationally for talent to build a program that has won 23 of 34 games in the last two seasons.
    On Wednesday, the Colts took a look at some Indianapolis-area talent, including former Warren Central High School and Indiana State standout Shakir Bell.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Prep roundup: Vikings get big hits to beat North Vermillion on softball diamond

    The West Vigo softball team improved to 4-3 for the season with an 11-4 victory over North Vermillion on Thursday.
    Leah Morrison busted the game open with a three-run double in the Vikings’ seven-run fourth inning.
    Kenzie Little chipped in with a two-run triple in the sixth and Hannah Harden tossed a complete-game for the pitching win.

    April 18, 2014

Local Interest
  • METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis

    Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.

    April 10, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Burnham leads Woods softball to wins

    After dropping a pair of games to Missouri Baptist on Wednesday, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods beat Lindenwood-Belleville 9-7 and 1-0, both games in eight innings, on Thursday afternoon.
    Sarah Burnham’s seventh-inning homer in the first game tied the score 4-4, and the Pomeroys took a 5-4 lead later in the inning on an RBI double by Brooke Jordan before the Lynx tied the score in the bottom of the inning.

    March 21, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball splits pair in Florida

    Pitching dominated Tuesday’s opening day of play in the Rebel Spring Games for the Indiana State softball team, which defeated Bucknell 2-0 before falling 2-0 to Creighton.
    “The girls did a great job in the first game getting a couple runs,” ISU coach Shane Bouman said. “We leaned on [sophomore] Yvette Alvarez who pitched really well. We probably got as much as we could out of her and probably should have changed earlier so put that on me. We have a couple little things we can clean up and get a little better and we will be ready to go tomorrow.”

    March 11, 2014

  • Tony Dungy, wife Lauren signing books today in Terre Haute

    Former NFL coach Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, are at Sam’s Club in Terre Haute today, Feb. 12, signing books until about 1:30 p.m.

    February 12, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: Feb. 7, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday, based on jail records.

    February 7, 2014

High School
College
  • METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational

    Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
    The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series

    The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
    The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041614 SMWC jordan.jpg Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman

    Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
    But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola

    Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
    The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond

    The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.

    April 15, 2014

Sports Columns
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Terre Haute Rex
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Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Expanding the fan base: Bruce Rosselli, manager of the Terre Haute Rex, displays the team's new slogan, Wabash Valley's Own, during a press conference on Wednesday at Clabber Girl.

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