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Vol. 43, No. 3 • March 2006 • .pdf version
Oscar Robertson Trophy finds permanent home at Conseco
By JOE MITCH / Executive Director
The USBWA has found a permanent home for its player of the year award, the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
At a news conference in Indianapolis in February that was attended by nearly 100 people, the USBWA announced the trophy will be on permanent display at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The trophy – a bronze sculpture valued at $10,000 showing Oscar grabbing a rebound with his legs stretched out wide in a Cincinnati uniform – will be part of an ongoing exhibit at Conseco Fieldhouse, starting as early as this March.
The display will highlight Oscar Robertson's career and feature the association's player of the year award, including a listing by name and pictures of past recipients.
Conseco has similar exhibits in its main concourse of teams, players and coaches showcasing the state of Indiana's rich basketball history.
The permanent display of the USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy at Conseco Fieldhouse is fitting and a natural choice.
Oscar's stellar basketball career began in high school in Indianapolis
when he led Crispus Attucks High School to two
In 2000, when the NCAA Final Four was last played in Indianapolis, the National Association of Basketball Coaches named Oscar the "Player of the Century."
The display is expected to be ready in time for the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, April 1-3.
Bill Benner is responsible for getting the USBWA's player of the year trophy permanently displayed at Conseco Fieldhouse. Benner is a past president of the USBWA and former columnist for the Indianapolis Star and currently the assistant director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association.
He worked on the project with Rick Fuson, executive director at Conseco Fieldhouse. Fuson's father, Wayne, is a former sportswriter and columnist, having worked at the Indianapolis News before retirement.
"This should provide the USBWA and the Oscar Robertson Trophy with tremendous visibility," Benner said. "Over a million people each year visit Conseco Fieldhouse. The exhibits are immensely popular."
At the news conference, the USBWA also announced that Conseco Fieldhouse also will be the site for the College Basketball Awards breakfast, hosted by the USBWA, on Friday morning, March 31.
The USBWA will present the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award and also honor Indiana's 1976 and 1981 national championship teams. Part of the association's tradition is to annually recognize teams, players and coaches for significant achievements in college basketball.
Addressing the media at the press conference and representing the two Indiana teams were Quinn Buckner, captain of the 1976 Hoosier team and now vice president of communications for the NBA Indiana Pacers, and Ray Tolbert, MVP on the 1981 team and now sports director for a church in Indianapolis.
Spearheading efforts to honor those teams at the breakfast is Bob Hammel, also a past president of the USBWA and now retired after 44 years in the sportswriting profession, 30 of them covering Indiana basketball at the Bloomington Herald-Telephone and Times.
Hammel, working with the Indiana Alumni Association, wrote a letter that was sent to each member of those two teams, inviting them and a guest to the breakfast.
The breakfast will benefit the USBWA's scholarship programs and other association activities. A portion of the proceeds will also be given to the National Kidney Foundation in honor of Oscar Robertson, who donated a kidney several years to his daughter Tia, who was suffering from lupus.
Tickets for the breakfast are $100 each and can be purchased on the USBWA website at usbwa.com.
It is with sadness that I report the recent passing of two prominent members of the USBWA – Jay Simon and Bob Logan.
Logan was a longtime member and former sportswriter for 28 years covering
college basketball at the Chicago Tribune
Simon died this past fall in Arizona where he had retired after serving as sports information director at Kansas and before that sportswriting stints at the Topeka Capital-Journal and Daily Oklahoman. He was inducted as a charter member of the USBWA Hall of Fame in 1988.
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