Steve Downing returns to Indy as Marian AD

Big Steve is back home.
Steve Downing, the 1973 Big Ten MVP for men’s basketball and a former 22-year associate athletic at Indiana University, has returned to Indianapolis as athletic director at Marian University.
Downing spent the past 10 years as Texas Tech’s senior associate director of athletics, working closely for many of those years with Bob Knight, whose first couple of IU clubs benefited greatly from Downing’s contributions.
Few who saw it will forget Downing’s 47-point, 25-rebound performance that led IU to a 90-89 double-overtime win over No. 7-ranked Kentucky on Dec. 11, 1971 during Knight’s initial season with the Hoosiers and Adolph Rupp’s last with UK.
And after earning league MVP honors, Downing then spurred Knight’s 1973 team to the Final Four, averaging 20.1 points and 10.6 rebounds. He also won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 1974.
George McGinnis and Downing were the celebrated 1-2 punch that led a legendary Indianapolis Washington team to the 1969 Indiana state title, and the pair also teamed up for a sophomore season at IU (freshmen were still ineligible to play varsity college ball at the time) before McGinnis went pro.
Downing stayed on and graduated from IU and is still fifth on the Hoosiers’ career rebounding list after just three seasons of play with 889. His 377 rebounds in 1971-72 mark the second-highest total ever for a Hoosier in a single season, trailing only Walt Bellamy’s 428 in 1960-61.
Marian, the alma mater of Downing’s wife Doris, is a NAIA school in Indianapolis with more than 400 athletes competing in 21 sports.

10 comments

  1. A great player and a class individual. Indiana just became a better place to live in. Welcome back Steve!

  2. It’s hard to speculate if Knight could have had the same early success without the good fortune of starting his career with Downing already in a Hoosier uniform. He thoroughly outplayed Walton in the ’73 Final Four game against UCLA when he propelled the Hoosiers to an incredible second half comeback against the mighty Bruins and the big redheaded center all expected to dominate Downing…How wrong they were….Only a very controversial whistle from an official determined to not let two top centers play it out to the finish in the final minutes a war prevented a trip to a championship game. When I read the garbage in the recent headlines unveiling the seedy behavior that went on at the University of Miami, it makes me miss the days of young men that played with dignity and devotion to the team they represented. Nothing braggadocious or in-your-face about Downing..He just went onto the court and quietly dominated your a$$.

  3. Not only back in Indy, but back on the Westside. I’ll never forget the call during the 1973 Final Four that should have been Bill Walton’s fifth foul, but was called as Downing’s fourth. He ended up fouling out, thus ending, for all practical purposes, IU’s chances of winning the game.

  4. Steve Downing is the prime example of what is great about college athletics and athletic scholarships. He came out of Washington HS with poor preparaqtion for college level work, but with the drive to maximize his talents. He out-performed everyone’s expectations both on the court and in the classroom. He is a great human being and a great role-model for any young man. Hoosiers love Big Steve!

  5. I too remember that game where it was obviously Walton’s fifth foul which would have meant that it would have been IU’s 3rd title and Knight’s 1st. I also remember the pregame stuff from Curt Gowdy talking about how calm and cerebral John Wooden was on the bench during games with his rolled up program in his hand. I then remember Wooden up and screaming at his team shaking that program at everyone in sight as IU came back on them in a way they hadn’t seen in a long time (by the way, I do think Wooden was a good man). Downing and Ritter were the guys who lead that team and who showed guys like Buckner how to do it in big time college basketball. They sowed the seeds for that ’76 team.

  6. I remember that senile Curt Gowdy talking about Tommy Curtis’s mother was a teacher and was probably watching this game right now. He, on the other hand failed to recognize a furious IU comeback with several freshmen on the floor.

  7. Sam, I just came here to ask the same question.

    Almost 3 days with nothing new?

    They must all be at the beach.

  8. The local paper can’t find anything new to post in a 4 day span ? About any sport ? Even with FB about to start and with a new coach ? Guess the other sites are just making stuff up.

  9. My bad, my bad. Had a busy weekend working on a lot of preview stuff for the wrap next week. There were stories in the paper though. I need to get Hoosier Morning going again and start linking to those. Although there are always links to them on the right side of the blog.
    In case it isn’t obvious, I miss Hugh.

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