The Herald Bulletin

Midday Update

College Sports

November 5, 2013

Bird's Sycamore stardom surprised many

TERRE HAUTE — Do dreams ever come true?

Does an athlete ever not only live up to his buildup but exceed it by enormous amounts?

It may not happen very often now, when athletes are written about and recruited from the time they are in elementary school. But it certainly happened in the 1970s, when Indiana State University and Terre Haute got to know Larry Bird and were able to introduce him to the rest of the world.

ISU may have been the first school to recruit Bird at Springs Valley High School, even though it took a second attempt to get him to come. And even when he arrived — after being an Indiana All-Star selection and an Indiana University recruit for a very short time — there weren’t a lot of people who appreciated the significance of his arrival.

“I don’t think anybody realized (how good Bird would become),” said former teammate Rick Williams, “no matter what they say now.”

There were one or two who may have, however.

SOME REALIZED

One was Gordon Stauffer, Indiana State’s head coach from 1967 through 1975.

“We were following him as a freshman and sophomore,” said Stauffer. “We really got our foot in the door. I used to take (my wife) Norma with me when I went to look at players, but I’d never tell her which one I was looking at, to see if she could pick him out. The night we went to see Larry, she turned to me after about a minute and said, ‘He’s the one, isn’t he?’”

Bird was just 6-foot-3 then, however, and not exactly muscular. Bill Hodges remembers seeing Bird play for the first time when the Springs Valley star was a junior.

“We were recruiting a kid named Curt Gilstrap from Orleans, and they were playing Springs Valley,” said Hodges, an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech at the time. “Larry was a 6-3 wing, and he was really good, but even at Tennessee Tech you’ve got to have a bigger kid than that. But then he grew four inches during the summer.”

Text Only
College Sports
  • spt_delaney.jpg Big Ten commissioner paints dire picture of paying players

    The head of the Big Ten painted a dire picture Friday of what college sports would look like if players were paid. He said his conference likely would cease to exist and the Rose Bowl probably would not be played.

    June 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0604 - Lopresti art Mike Lopresti: Hoosiers' high hopes end in heartbreak

    Caring comes with a catch; how lousy it feels to lose. Indiana University was just reminded of that.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Lopresti: Hoosiers bitten by fickle fate They said they're not shattered. They said they'll be back, as surely as Monday follows Sunday. They said this was one loss, and that happens in baseball.

    June 1, 2014

  • SPT - HB0510 - Frazier. Nicole AU softball team loses two to end season

    The Anderson University bats fell silent in day two of the NCAA Division III softball regional and as a result, the Ravens are headed home, finishing the season at 30-9.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Frazier's slam lifts AU into regional second round

    Anderson University junior Nichole Frazier hit a walk-off grand slam home run in the seventh inning to lift the Ravens to a 9-5 victory over Fontbonne Friday.

    May 10, 2014

  • spt_utahfightsong.jpg Utah president backs review of fight song

    After more than a century of singing "I'm a Utah Man," some say it's time to update the University of Utah's 1904 fight song.

    May 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ravens softball team heads to Illinois for regionals The Anderson University softball team, fresh off winning the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference season and tournament titles, Monday morning learned of its next hurdle.

    May 6, 2014

  • SPT - HB0504 - AU softball - DK - 113 Ravens dump Bluffton, win HCAC softball title All of them had a shot. All of them went down in flames. The Anderson University softball team finished as dominating a performance as the conference has seen in a while with a 13-4 victory over Bluffton to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament here Saturday.

    May 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0503 - AU softball - DK - 080 AU unbeaten in tourney

    The Ravens posted a 4-1 win over Transylvania in the opening contest and then buried the Rose-Hulman Engineers with their own poorly designed shovels 12-3 in the nightcap.

    May 2, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT - HB0502 - AU softball Sami Frazier AU top seeds in HCAC softball tourney Anderson University's softball team has dominated the regular season of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference but the Ravens know that is no guarantee for the tournament.

    May 1, 2014 2 Photos