Alford No. 17 Big Ten Icon

From the Big Ten Network:

CHICAGO – Steve Alford has been named Big Ten Icon No. 17. The Big Ten Icons countdown, presented by Discover, continues at 9 PM ET on Tuesday, Oct. 5, with a profile of the sharpshooting Indiana guard. The episode includes new, exclusive interviews with Alford, his father, Sam, Steve Lavin, Gene Keady, Bob Hammel, Don Fischer and others.

New episodes of the 20-episode series, hosted by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson, debut at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring.

Alford helped lead Indiana to the 1987 National Championship, was a two-time All-American, a three-time All-Big Ten selection and was named Indiana’s team MVP four straight years. He finished his collegiate career as the Hoosiers’ all-time leading scorer. The native of New Castle, Ind., also won a gold medal on the Bob Knight-coached 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

In the episode, Alford talks about how he worked on his shooting touch in the third grade. “I can remember my mom going to the store and buying Pringles cans. She’d come home and I’d dump out all the chips on the table. The rest of the family could eat all the chips, but that was a hoop for me. And I’d use ping pong balls and I learned touch.”

Alford also recalls his recruiting process. “I was waiting on one phone call. I knew where I wanted to go. I knew where my dream was, where my goal was. Every workout I did at New Castle in the summer was two-fold: That was to be the best high school player I can be, help my team win as many games as we could. And in the back of my mind was to be good enough to play at Indiana, to be good enough to play for Coach Knight.”

In an essay for <> , former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath wrote, “Steve Alford may well have been the quintessential Indiana basketball player.” To read the full essay and to watch a video feature on Alford, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at <> .

The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Big Ten Icons is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history, based solely on their collegiate playing careers. Icons 50 through 21, listed below, were revealed at

Fans can visit <> to see a complete roster of Big Ten Icons, which also features essays, video and other key facts about each Icon’s career. Viewers can also participate in the “Talk of the Locker Room” contest with a chance to win the $10,000 grand prize. Weekly winners will take home a 55-inch Philips HD television.

Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman said the series will engage and spark conversation among sports fans everywhere. “What will make Big Ten Icons stand out is the depth of the storytelling,” he said. “The rankings themselves are sure to generate quite a bit of discussion.”

No. 50       Tom Brands, Iowa wrestling (1989-92)
No. 49       Megan Hodge, Penn State volleyball (2006-09)
No. 48       Drew Brees, Purdue football (1997-2000)
No. 47       Chris Spielman, Ohio State football (1984-87)
No. 46       LaVar Arrington, Penn State football (1997-99)
No. 45       Rod Woodson, Purdue football (1983-86)
No. 44       George Halas, Illinois football (1916-18)
No. 43       Chuck Long, Iowa football (1981-85)
No. 42       Curt Warner, Penn State football (1979-82)
No. 41       Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern football (1993-96)
No. 40       Bobby Bell, Minnesota football (1960-62)
No. 39       Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, Ohio State football (1953-55)
No. 38       Calbert Cheaney, Indiana basketball (1989-93)
No. 37       Leroy Keyes, Purdue football (1966-68)
No. 36       Jim Abbott, Michigan baseball (1985-88)
No. 35       Glenn Robinson, Purdue basketball (1992-94)
No. 34       Desmond Howard, Michigan football (1989-91)
No. 33       Alex Karras, Iowa football (1955-57)
No. 32       Scott May, Indiana basketball (1973-76)
No. 31       Neal Broten, Minnesota hockey (1979-81)
No. 30       Alan Ameche, Wisconsin football (1951-54)
No. 29       Cazzie Russell, Michigan basketball (1964-66)
No. 28       Quinn Buckner, Indiana basketball (1972-76)
No. 27       Glen Rice, Michigan basketball (1986-89)
No. 26       Bubba Smith, Michigan State football (1964-66)
No. 25       Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, Michigan and Wisconsin football (1942-46)
No. 24       Anthony Carter, Michigan football (1979-82)
No. 23       Bob Griese, Purdue football (1964-66)
No. 22       Jack Ham, Penn State football (1968-70)
No. 21       Bronko Nagurski, Minnesota football (1927-29)
No. 20       Charles Woodson, Michigan football (1995-97)
No. 19       Suzy Favor Hamilton, Wisconsin track and field (1987-91)
No. 18       Jack Nicklaus, Ohio State golf (1959-61)
No. 17       Steve Alford, Indiana basketball (1983-87)
No. 16       Announced Tuesday at the conclusion of Big Ten Icons No. 17 episode


  1. uh oh, I cannot even imagine the fun people will have with this one…

    I am happy for Alford…he was great to watch as a player at IU!!!

  2. Steve Alford was a great Indiana University basketball player and a great Indiana HS basketball player! Congratulations Steve!

  3. It is a rare occasion when 4guards instructs JB to pull the Alford tape out of the DVD slot and put in the Peter Jurkin highlights.

  4. I wonder what number is Tom Crean on this list?

    Probably 12,984 and with accidental chances of advancing 2-3 positions by 2018?

    I’d like to see Crean at Iowa. Or Washington for that matter…

  5. OT: but in addition to be a great runner, Suzy Favor Hamilton was easy on the eyes. We now return you to regular scheduled programming

  6. IU basketball is well represented. Wonder if Walt Bellamy is yet to be named. Anthony Thompson should be up there. and Maybe Harry Gonso or John Isenbarger.

    Gotta figure top ten icons will include Jesse Owens, Jerry Lucas, Tom Harmon, Mark Spitz, Johnny Wooden, perhaps Nile Kinnick.

    I would bank on Jesse Owens as number one for all the obvious reasons.

    Longer shot for numero uno would be Jerry Lucas as number one. He was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and only Wooden — as a coach, not a player — can equal that.

    Either way, Ohio State gets the number one icon.

  7. The Carver Hawkeye Arena was built 28 years ago. In thses 28 years only once did the Iowa Hawkeyes manage to finish the season undefeated at home: in 2005-06, with Steve Alford as coach.

    Clarion and others will argue that Alford’s Iowa lost in the first round of NCAA that year. They will forget to tell you the game was lost on a last second shot.

    The 1969-70 team (coached by Ralph Miller) was arguably the greatest team in Iowa basketball history. They too went out in the second round of NCAA tournament despite finishing with a record 14-0 the conference. Alford was 5 at the time so you can’t blame him for that as I am sure you would like to.

    Alford’s struggle at Iowa is at least above Crean’s accidental Final Four in Milwaukee.

    You are all sour because he hasn’t been as successful as a coach as he was as a player.

    And as he is slowly becoming successful you can’t allow yourself to admit you were impatient and were wrong.

    And in doing so you persist in your self-centered denial. But it’s OK, because it is your choice.

  8. magic johnson, isiah thomas and dan gable are also probable top ten icon candidates. was michael phelps at michigan long enough to count as a big ten athlete?

  9. Steve Alford WAS a great player while he WAS AT Indiana. That WAS then and this IS now.He HAS signed a very long contract extension and IS happy at New Mexico. He HAS moved on with his life and does not live in the past or suffer from delusions unlike some who post here.

  10. Alford has identified his two most desired needs, a job affording a comfortable fit and offer opportunities for some success. Unfortunately for him both are located in conferences of mediocre competition.

  11. “Crean’s accidental Final Four”.

    Hilarious. Do we even have to go through this again?

    Bobby Cremins could never accidentally make it to the Final Four with Chris Bosh.

    Rick Barnes could never accidentally make it to the Final Four with Kevin Durant.

    Sampson couldn’t accidentally end up there with two All-Americans in his starting lineup.

    Crean recruited the man to take him to the Final Four and he got there. It was by no means accidental or automatic.

  12. Cremins, Hewitt, it’s all the same: having future NBA greats on your roster is no guarantee you will make it to the Final Four!!!

  13. Unfortunately for Marquette, this was the Final Four, a game in which it was supposed to be playing. But, more often than not, the Golden Eagles were rendered spectators.

    Let me rephrase that: not accidental, but awkward and embarrassing, bordering on inappropriate.’s Closer Look makes no mention of the Golden Eagles’ coach. Who was it? Did they really have a coach?

    Enough said.

  14. Cremins, Hewitt, it’s all the same: having future NBA greats on your roster is no guarantee you will make it to the Final Four!!!

    Agreed. No guarantee. It can only happen by accident.

    Case in point: Tom Crean’s Marquette in 2003.

  15. Wrong wrong wrong. Sorry. Wish it worked that way, don’t you? Take a survey of all the coaches who went to the Final Four in the 2000’s. You won’t find a single bad coach on the list. If you made it to the Final Four in the 2000s, you are a great coach. Period. Even Jimmy Laranaga of George Mason is great.

  16. I disagree with Wayne Campbell. Tom Crean got to the FF by luck and accident, and then he disgraced himself by losing by 70 to a terrible Kansas team.

    In fact, the only thing more disgraceful than this is Bob Knight’s long string of first and second-round exits to #11 and #12 seeds in the second half of the 90’s.

  17. Husky you were not here in the first half of the 90s. In fact where were you then? How old were you between 87 and 93? I bet you were between 7 and 13 years old.

    Nothing Bob Knight did was ever disgraceful. You are kooky.

    Dude fact is Tom Crean is not even mentioned in the story written after the game by — not even mentioned!!

    What a great coach: takes MU to the Final Four then the jealous journalists don’t even mention him. They must have been too jealous.

    I liked No Hway’s perspective better: everyone who went to the Final Four in the 2000s is great.

    That puts Crean right up there with Kelvin Sampson and Mike Davis.

    It also means last 10 years we only had great coaches. We must be blessed.

    Another great coach is about to dismantle Michigan this weekend.

    Also Husky Knight would’ve left IU earlier because of major differences with Brand. But Herman Wells asked him to stay. When Wells died (the night we lost to Pepperdine) Knight knew his time at Indiana had come to an end — because he’d been in clinches with Brand for so long.

    Dude, dude, dude! I want to see IU Football compete tomorrow! Dude.

  18. Mike Davis = great ?!?!? After RMK’s players were gone MD was re-evaluated to poor in nearly every aspect of coaching.

    The mention of the Wells intervention is correct.

    With a guard of Wade’s caliber you ought to aim for the FF.

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