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Family fame

Southwestern basketball’s Collier
to be inducted in Hall of Fame

He will join his father in the Hall of Fame in March

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

(March 2008) – It’s not often that a father and son both get inducted into the same Hall of Fame.
Steve Collier will join his father, John, in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame at a March 19 ceremony. The banquet and ceremony for the award will take place at the Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis. Steve first heard about the honor in December.
“I was very excited,” he said. “I was even more excited because my father is in the Hall of Fame.”
John Collier was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
“I think it’s just wonderful,” John said of his son being inducted. “You always like to go out a winner, and this gives you the chance to put a cap on it. We’re very proud of him. It’s a great day in the Collier family.”
John played basketball for Guilford High School until 1944, when he enrolled at Hanover College and started all four years there. He would later coach the Hanover College men’s basketball team and be named Coach of the Year in the Hoosier Collegiate Conference three times. He retired from Hanover College in 1988.
Several weeks ago, Steve visited the Indiana Hall of Fame museum in New Castle, Ind.
“It was good to walk around the Hall of Fame and see Southeastern Indiana so well represented,” he said.
Steve began playing basketball when he was in the third grade during recess. Soon after, he attended a formal basketball camp and became hooked for life.
“I enjoyed it, then it became a passion,” he said. “Every day I played, year-round.”
When the family went on vacations, John would call the hotel to make sure it had a basketball goal.
The three Collier boys never had the opportunity to call their dad “coach” in their basketball careers.
“My wife said, ‘I don’t ever want you to coach our sons,’” John said.
He added that Jean had noticed the common abuse that took place when it came down to a fight for playing time between a coach’s son and another person’s son.
Although John respected his wife’s wishes and never formally coached any of his sons, he still had a big influence on them, Steve said.
“Being the coach that he was, he was very instrumental in showing me the proper techniques and love of the game, and just appreciating it for what it is,” Steve said.
John would often provide drills to refine Steve’s skills and worked with him outside of practice.
“One of the things I tried to instill in him was being a team player,” John said, adding that many of Steve’s coaches said that he was “a great team player.”
Steve graduated from Southwestern High School in 1974 with a Mr. Basketball title for the same year.
“I enjoy remembering playing in the old Southwestern gym, the sound the ball made when bouncing on the elevated floor,” said Steve, 52.
He also reminisced about the rivalry between Southwestern and Madison Consolidated High School, including the sold-out gymnasium and the community’s enthusiasm.
Steve continued his basketball career at the University of Cincinnati.
“He had a tremendous career there,” John said. “We enjoyed watching him play.”
One of John’s favorite memories from his son’s college career was one where Steve hit the winning basket at the last second from far down the court.
“They didn’t have the three-point shot when he was a player, or else he would have racked up a lot of those,” John said.
With John’s coaching career, he did not have very many chances to see Steve play. However, Jean would not miss very many of her son’s games.
“I think one of the reasons he went so close to home was so Jean could get to see him,” John said of Steve’s college choice. “I went every opportunity I could get.”
After he graduated from college, Steve became a teacher and a coach. Later, he entered into school administration, and currently serves as Superintendent of Norwood City Schools in Cincinnati.

• For more information about the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, visit www.hoopshall.com.

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