It’ll all be over with in another week . . . the 2013 college basketball season. All of the highlights, surprises, disappointments and tragic happenings will be a thing of the past. The only thing remaining will be for coaches to continue revamping the landscape. And, there’s probably another three or four weeks for that to wind down.
Fortunately SIU has completed its job of hiring a leader for its troubled women’s program. Despite our interest and hopes that the Salukis may take a chance on a proven high school coach like Nashville’s Wayne Harre, SIU went for the more experienced candidate, Cindy Stein, who was named earlier this week.
Stein is hardly a rookie as she’s been in the business since having graduated from the University of Illinois in the 1980s. She served a rather lengthy term at the University of Missouri which means SIU athletics director Mario Moccia has got to have knowledge of her capabilities as Mizzou was the place of his previous employment.
We sincerely hope that she can turn SIU’s program around and bring back the golden years of Cindy Scott’s fairly long tenure.
Meanwhile, we visited with a former Saluki player, Randy House, this week and like all of our excursions, it was enjoyable.
House, as everyone knows, is head coach at Rend Lake College where the Warriors hit the jackpot this season by winning a national championship.
We were winners as well as Randy agreed to our invitation to be principal speaker at the Du Quoin Elks’ 66th annual banquet honoring the community’s high school athletes. He’ll be following Barry Hinson on the long list of standout guest speakers which, as a matter of fact, includes such honorees as Stan Musial.
House was not the greatest basketball player ever to put on a Saluki uniform, and, as the records show, isn’t even in the Hall of Fame as of yet, but he played a major role in SIU’s history.
Having played high school basketball under Rich Herrin at Benton, it was a natural transition for him to follow Herrin to SIU when he took over the Salukis in the fall of 1985.
Again, House never led the team in scoring in any of his four years at SIU, but he’s a member of the 1,000-point club. Randy scored 215 points as a freshman, 210 as a sophomore, 396 his junior season and finished with 300 his senior year for a total of 1,121 to go along with his 441 rebounds.
We’ll never forget his performance against Drake in 1987. It came in the Missouri Valley Conference post-season tournament game played in Des Moines. The Bulldogs’ home games were normally played in the Des Moines Auditorium back in those years, but this being a post-season game, the facility was unavailable. As a result, school officials had to clean up their historic old field house on campus and the game was played in it before a capacity, but rather sparse crowd of fewer than 3,000 fans.
Page 2 of 2 - The Salukis won the game, 78-70, due to House’s heroics. The Benton native put on a one-man show late in the game when he scored 15 consecutive SIU points. For some reason we remember it as if it had happened this week.
House was a major player in SIU’s rebirth and after struggling through three losing seasons was a senior on the 1989 team that went 20-14, including a San Juan tournament 102-81 win over Villanova. He does have a few achievements as a Saluki to go along with his new honors at Rend Lake.