News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports Columns

April 8, 2014

TODD GOLDEN: Waltman's integrity helped him rise to the top

TERRE HAUTE — 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.

It was even odds that the sportcoat was not going to be long for the world inside the coaches’ box. Ear-muffs for those sensitive to adult language were highly-advised. Officials, assistant coaches, players, reporters … none of the above were going to dodge his wrath any more than light can escape a black hole.

“He was unfiltered and not necessarily politically correct, but he told you how it was,” said good friend Ray Goddard, the pro at Terre Haute’s Idle Creek Golf Course.

The fiery demeanor was just surface-level Waltman for a man who was miles deeper. It was the Waltman many saw on TV, but it was only part of how he was a coach and a man.

To know him? It was to know a man who had more integrity than any I’ve covered in my two decades in the business.

“He was brutally honest and he always had a tough love about him to tell it how it was. Sometimes we don’t always enjoy it, but since he did it, I think people appreciated it. You knew what you were dealing with under him,” said current Clemson assistant Dick Bender, who was on Waltman’s staff for all of his 10 years at ISU.

Waltman’s accomplishments at ISU speak for themselves. He brought winning back to a program that hadn’t tasted it for two decades. He is responsible for two of ISU’s four Division I NCAA Tournament appearances. He is the second-winningest coach of all-time at ISU behind Duane Klueh.

But those aren’t the years that are burned into my memory banks. I covered Waltman’s last three seasons at ISU, and by any measure, they weren’t his best ones. Waltman suffered from cancer shortly after ISU’s early 2000s success, the recuriting slipped, the Missouri Valley Conference got a lot better, and the Sycamores were not able to recover.

I was a rookie beat writer when I arrived in 2004. No coach could have better prepared me for the in’s and out’s of a Division I beat better than Waltman. He put me through my paces just as he did his players.

I was on the business end of some of his outbursts as well as his praise and he was always fair. He was honest to a fault and you always knew where you stood. It was the same for me as it was for his assistant coaches and players.

“The thing that gets lost in today’s society is how to do things the right way. The other thing is telling the truth. He was strong about that,” said Mississippi State coach Rick Ray, an ISU assistant from 1997-2004.

His integrity went way beyond interpersonal relationships. He knew that college basketball was more than just the factory it seems destined to turn itself into. He was fiercely loyal to his players and would put their situations above his.

I saw it first-hand. A player whom I won’t name had become a problem within the program and also had significant issues in his home life. He walked out of practices, had confrontations with coaches and teammates, all of the ingredients that — 90 times out of 100 — will get a player kicked off of a team.

Waltman refused to do it. His reasoning was that if he let the player go, he was dooming this player to a lifetime of problems. He thought the structure of playing Division I basketball, even despite this player’s behavior, was more important to the player’s overall well-being than that of the team.

This was at a time when Waltman needed all of the help he could get and could ill-afford the strife. He put himself second and the player first. His morality was more than talk, he put it into action. I deeply admired that.

Waltman did a lot of little things to make college basketball a life experience rather than an endless parade of practices and games. One thing he did was to pair up athletes from rural and urban backgrounds both as a team-building exercise and to expose these players to different points of view and cultures.

Waltman was a man of integrity first and always. I wished I had covered Waltman’s best teams, but in a way, I feel blessed that I covered him when his teams weren’t at their best because I think I learned more about the man.

He had been part of an Olympic gold medal-winning team in 1984, he was part of Indiana’s 1987 national championship team, he coached DePauw and the University of Indianapolis to dizzying heights, and he pulled ISU out of its abyss and back into NCAA Tournament relevance in the early 2000s.

He had been to the top of the mountain. He wanted to be there again. He wanted to win desperately. The losses, every one of them, gutted him. He could’ve cut corners to get there again, but he never did. He couldn’t. His morality wouldn’t allow for it.

“Some of the things I take away from Coach, I tell my own kids and kids in the classroom [at Terre Haute North],” said former ISU forward Matt Renn, who played for Waltman from 1997-2001. “He told you to do things the right way — to not cheat, so that when you do have success you can enjoy it. You don’t have to worry about how you got there.”

I’ve been around college basketball for a decade now. I’ve learned how this sport works. Integrity is a rare commodity. Honesty, as it was with Waltman, is not it’s own reward. Dishonesty is forgiven if the W’s come with it.

But for three years, I was blessed to cover the sport not for how it is, but how it can be with someone honest at the controls, how it should be in a perfect world.

I feel blessed to have been there to see it and to know the man that embodied it. Waltman was a great coach, but he was a greater man. ISU is very fortunate to have been graced by his presence.

Goodbye Royce. If I ever get to cover someone finer, I’ll be a lucky man indeed.

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
Sports Columns
  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Fair or unfair, ISU football most vulnerable to NCAA change

    It just doesn’t seem fair.
    Just when you think Indiana State football has achieved stability and a sense of calm, forces are ranged around it that continue to make it the most vulnerable sport offered at ISU.

    July 26, 2014

  • SPT072114sprints crowd.jpg TRACKSIDE: Clauson's run to Indiana Sprint Week title witnessed by many Hoosiers

    The checkered flag has fallen on yet another highly successful Indiana SprintWeek series for the USAC sprint cars.
    Bryan Clauson emerged as the series champ edging out Robert Ballou for the coveted title, his second ISW crown in as many years.

    July 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Tom Reck: Brickyard 400 highlights big sports week

    It’s another busy week in sports. Two of the events on the schedule are the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the windup of the Show-Me’s/THGA men’s city golf tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Bigelow part of Action Track’s lifeblood

    Many things have changed since the Terre Haute Action Track opened in 1952, but the one constant is dirt.

    July 18, 2014

  • schrader.jpg Joe Buckles: New alliance features powerful figures trying to lower costs

    Possibly no off track developments involving NASCAR racing  over the past 20 to 30 years has generated as much interest and speculation as last week’s announcement regarding the formation of the new Race Team Alliance organization.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: At break, A’s own baseball’s top record

    The all-stars will be out tonight in Major League Baseball, meaning there’s a little break in the regular schedules. At this point, the team with the best record in either league … is Oakland which is 59-36 for a .621 percentage.

    July 14, 2014

  • minors.jpg From Terre Haute to the majors: Eitel, Phegley recognized as Triple-A All-Stars

    Phegley is a third-time All-Star in the International League, while Marshall, Ill., native Derek Eitel was named to his first Triple-A All-Star game. The Rose-Hulman graduate and right-handed relief pitcher for the Reno Aces has put up impressive numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Eitel has a 2.70 earned-run average with 60 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings for the Diamondbacks’ top minor-league team.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Andy Amey: Just a small trip to talk about this time

    To paraphrase Carl Spackler, the heavy stuff’s not going to come for quite awhile. So while it’s true that I’m back from a week’s vacation, it’s not time — yet — for the big vacation column. Trips to Noblesville, Brunswick and Reelsville, while providing some nice family time, don’t really have the cachet to fill newspaper space.

    July 11, 2014

  • From the Press Box: Simple sports pleasures are best

    Andy Amey is the undisputed king of vacation columns in the Tribune-Star’s annals. I just returned from vacation, and while there were certainly tales to tell, I’m left with fond memories of simple sports pleasures.
    My family and I spent an extended weekend in Kansas City? Why? Why not? Truthfully, it was close, there’s a lot to do there, and we didn’t want the headache and expense of a long-haul vacation. We had a great time.

    July 8, 2014

  • Trackside: Valley race fans should be happy

    Whether your preference is non-wing sprint cars or late-model stock cars, this is the week that Wabash Valley race fans look forward to all summer.
    The best of the best is the only way to describe what will unfold this week at Valley ovals. First comes the continuation of the popular UMP Summer National “Hell Week” tour for late models and its annual stop at Terre Haute Action Track tonight. USAC’s Indiana Sprint Week opens later this weekend with stops at Gas City on Friday night, Kokomo on Saturday and Lawrenceburg on Sunday evening.

    July 8, 2014

  • Tom Reck: All-Stars get chance to shine

    It’s July and that means all-star baseball time.

    July 7, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: Yes, you can get paid to go fishing

    Get that boat out and let’s go fish’n! We may make some money while having fun!
    The Indiana DNR is tagging 500 legal-sized black bass on the three rivers in central and northern Indiana as part of a new research project. “Black Bass” includes largemouth, small-mouth and spotted bass.

    July 5, 2014

  • photo3.JPG Hughes, News & Views: Shouses facing tough decisions about Dexter Jr.’s future

    Those of us who have followed Vigo County basketball for more than a decade remember how the families of Greg Oden, Reicina Russell and Chaz Spicer moved to the Indianapolis area before the athletes had a chance to complete high school in Terre Haute.
    Will 6-foot-3, 180-pound Dexter Shouse Jr., who turned 14 in May and recently finished seventh grade at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, pack up his belongings and make a similar trip east with his family?

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tom Reck: July a big month for local sports

    It’s the first day of July, a month full of golf tournaments and racing — all types of racing — and youth baseball tournaments.

    June 30, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM FILE.jpg Steady success: ISU continued to climb ladder with one of its best overall seasons ever

    First of all, if you’re an Indiana State fan, stand up and applaud. The Sycamores collectively went where only one Sycamore athletic department went before in 2013-14. ISU finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy standings. ISU recorded a score of 3.538, its highest in school history.

    June 25, 2014 6 Photos

  • Trackside: Rising costs make Valley racing more difficult than ever

    The life and times of your weekly short-track racer has long lived up to the colorful and exciting ways coveted by those in the stands who gather each weekend to watch their favorite team or driver compete.
    While the weekly trek to the race track has always presented its challenges, the task in recent times has made those trips to the many dirt ovals across the country a little more difficult to make.

    June 24, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Could ISU’s Odum get drafted?

    The National Basketball Association draft is coming up this week. Jake Odum of Indiana State has had several tryouts and looked good in a draft event. It would be nice to see him drafted.

    June 23, 2014 1 Story

  • College report: Wabash College relay team earns All-America honors

    Some summertime notes from here and there:

    June 23, 2014

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Appeal of World Cup is communal

    Columnist explains appeal of World Cup.

    June 21, 2014

  • Tom Lindley column mug.jpg TOM LINDLEY: NCAA could become casualty of paid athletes

    The time has come in Ed O’Bannon’s class action, antitrust case against the NCAA when lawyers start nibbling their fingernails, those in charge of athletic departments feel their heartbeats climb, and athletes try to get a grip on how things will change if their side prevails.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trackside: Likable Dave Darland still chalking up victories at 48

    One of short-track racing’s all-time open-wheel greats continues to add to his growing legacy.
    When veteran racer Dave Darland rolled into victory lane at Lincoln Park Speedway last week, he notched his 94th USAC career win. Add the countless number of open-competition wins over the years and it’s easy to surmise the popular driver is approaching the lofty 200-win plateau.
    His latest checkered flag came in the USAC Indiana Midget Week show at the same 5⁄16-mile dirt oval where he cut his teeth in an open-cockpit car more than 30 years ago.

    June 18, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Valley could be home of some champions

    And the beat goes on … for four teams and two individuals in the final week of Indiana high school sports action.

    June 16, 2014

  • Father, son team up to hunt a cape buff

    While hunting “Black Death” in Africa, your mind is racing with everything that can go wrong. The cape buffalo was starting his stalk on the hunters at 30 yards.
    Three days before, a father and son team decided a cape buff would be a challenge of a lifetime, so the hunt was on. Word came of an old bull running with a cow buffalo in the Limpopo providence and had been spotted. They knew the pair because the cow buff was even more dangerous than the bull for charging people for no reason.

    June 14, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Indy 500 book is intriguing look into an important era

    Doing the job I do, I get my share of books sent to me at the office. I hate to admit it, but a lot of them cross my eye for a moment, and like anyone else, if the subject matter doesn’t interest me, I don’t open it.

    June 13, 2014

  • Trackside: Thumbs up given for upcoming Indiana Midget Week

    In his many years of serving in the public relation department for the U.S. Auto Club, Dick Jordan has developed a keen sense for rating the overall health and future of dirt-track open-wheel racing.
    So when the veteran publicist voices a note of guarded optimism for the running of an upcoming series, one knows something special looms on the horizon.

    June 10, 2014

  • College Report: Brazil’s Baysinger navigates college tennis waters

    Garrett Baysinger of Brazil played his senior season of tennis at Rockville, one of the smallest high schools in the state to field a team in the sport.
    In a sport dominated by foreign players for teams in both genders at most levels, the competition for any college roster spot is extremely difficult. Baysinger did well at Rockville and on the summer circuit and earned a spot on the team at Kaskaskia Junior College in Illinois.

    June 10, 2014

  • Tom Reck: Seven teams, three golfers still have title shots

    Most high school sports teams in the Valley have concluded their seasons and are getting set for summer activity but four golf teams, three baseball teams and three golfers will be busy this week with more postseason play — all hoping to play another week in the state finals.

    June 9, 2014

  • Redneck Quaker: Lidster, Pickering try MacNab Challenge

    When a couple of adventurous, 67-year-old youngsters decided to try their hand at taking different species in Africa, they decided to do the MacNab Challenge.
    In one day, you have to harvest three species, one with feathers (bird), one with scales (fish), and one with a tail and legs (mammal).

    May 31, 2014

  • Todd Golden: Good times for ISU athletics

    I wish I had a time machine. Would I use it to correct some wrongs in my life or witness some important events in history? Sure, but that’s not what’s on my mind this instant. I’d love to go forward in time to see how the state of Indiana State’s athletic department from the present is perceived in the future.

    May 28, 2014

  • Ramblin’ Reck: Reflections plentiful from memorable Indianapolis 500

    The 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 is history and will go down as one of the best.
    Weather was perfect and the finish was second closest ever with Ryan Hunter-Reay nipping Helio Castroneves at the finish.
    There were few yellow caution periods with the first incident coming on the 150th lap and a race record was established with 6,105 laps completed by the drivers.

    May 28, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Raw: Planes With MH17 Victims Land in Eindhoven Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes
NDN Video
GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" Trailer is Here! Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
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