The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

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
Sports
  • PH pushes across only run in 7th FRANKTON -- After Frankton's Kyleigh Garner and Pendleton Heights' Bailey Benefiel battled one another to a standstill from the pitcher's circle for six innings, it took one mistake in the seventh to decide the outcome. Through six innings, Benefiel

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arabians clip Eagles, go for Muller repeat The competitive feeling at Pendleton Height’s Bill Stoudt Field quickly faded Friday during the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Arabians once again took advantage of the opposing team’s generosity as Frankton pitchers gave up six walks and hit five batters, and Pendleton Heights took the 14-3 victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Indians scratch back into Muller final A young and inexperienced Anderson team again proved its mettle Friday in the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Indians (2-3), playing without several expected starters to open the season, clawed out a 10-6 victory against Lapel (2-2) at Memorial Field to advance to the championship game for the 10th time.

    April 18, 2014

  • Elwood rolls past Liberty Christian While most people were aware that Elwood had 22 hits, 19 runs, 11 extra base hits and four home runs, most failed to notice that pitcher Tenasha Stephens tossed a no-hitter in the process.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pendleton Heights, Frankton to meet for net title

    Pendleton Heights and Frankton advanced to today's Madison County Championship title match after posting very different victories. The Lady Arabian tennis team advanced after defeating the Alexandria Tigers 4-1. For Frankton, it came down to a No. 1 singles tie-breaker to put away Lapel.

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - HB0418 - PHHS vs Alex - 017 Arabians hold off Alex to reach semifinals Good teams don't need much help. That didn't stop Pendleton Heights from accepting a little aid from Alexandria in the second round of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Panthers claw way into softball semis If only Elwood's Jessie Noone had missed the team bus, Thursday's game in the Madison County Softball Tournament would have been more competitive.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ravens drove Manchester to avoid sweep NORTH MANCHESTER — The Anderson University baseball team defeated Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leader Manchester University 9-5 on Wednesday at Gratz Field. Andrew Eiler led the Raven offense with three hits, three runs and an RBI, including one of four home runs the visitors hit.

    April 17, 2014

  • Elwood, Liberty Christian advance in county softball tournament The 2014 Madison County Softball tournament got off to a wild start at Liberty Christian on Wednesday night as Elwood and the host Liberty Christian Lions advanced with victories.

    April 17, 2014