It was a basketball team that people in Terre Haute still talk about 40 years later. Tomorrow, ISU will host Loyola at a soldout Hulman Center .
But, before and after the game the school will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary 78-79 basketball team starring Larry Bird.
It’s a part of terre haute culture. That time in 1979 when the valley got to see the sycamores at work on the court with Larry Bird.
“His ability to make everybody on the floor, his team, better, I’ve never seen anything like that and quite frankly, I’m not sure we’ve seen anything like that now,” Tom McClanahan who was WTWO Sports Director during 1979 said.
Tom says me during that time, he was fortunate enough to have a job that allowed him to follow the Sycamores during the NCAA tournament.
“Magic time. The whole thing was a magic era,” he said.
Representative Bob Heaton was a part of the team during that era.
“People want to talk about this shot or that shot and that type of thing, but it was just something that just the people itself in west central Indiana really topped it off,” Heaton said.
The big event that both Heaton and McClanahan remember is the rally at the Hulman Center after the Sycamores returned from Salt Lake City from the NCAA tournament, after falling just short of the title.
“There were 10 thousand people in this building just to say thank you at the wonderful job the team had done,” McClanahan said.
“Lot of great memories from that afternoon we got back,” Heaton said.
The Hulman Center is sold out for another big weekend where we anticipate seeing the 1979 team together with Larry Bird to cheer on the Sycamores.
“We’re all looking forward to getting together and reminsice a little bit,” Heaton said.
t’s looking back at memories like these, realizing this is what’s shaped terre haute for so many.
“And created so much excitement, that I’ll be honest, I’m not sure we’ll ever see again. But nonetheless it’s the community saying thanks for the memories,” McClanahan said.
Many will be experiencing the game this Saturday. This is the first time the Hulman Center has sold out of seats since they hosted Indiana in 2005.