ISU men’s basketball program receives $100,000 gift from legendary Sycamores athlete, coach

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Legendary Indiana State alumnus and professor emeritus Duane Klueh has given $100,000 to create the Duane and Mary Alice Klueh Endowment in support of the men’s basketball program.

The gift will honor the longstanding connection Klueh and his late wife have with the university. 

Klueh was an All-America basketball player at Indiana State in 1948. Under coach John Wooden, he led the Sycamores to second place in the NAIA tournament. He played two seasons in the early years of the NBA and was also a star in tennis, a sport he played into his 80s. 

Klueh graduated from Indiana State in 1949 with a degree in physical education and earned a master’s degree in 1951. He returned to his alma mater in 1955 to teach physical education and to coach men’s basketball and men’s tennis at the age of 28. He coached basketball for 12 years and tennis for 26. 

“Almost all of the good things that have happened to me in my life have been the result of being a student-athlete or a teacher and coach at Indiana State,” Klueh said. “That’s my motivation for attempting to help any way I can.” 

Klueh received ISU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1990 and the March On! Award for philanthropy in 2014. He was inducted into the inaugural Indiana State University Hall of Fame class in 1982, and the Duane Klueh Tennis Complex on Indiana State’s campus was named in his honor in 2003.  

“Duane Klueh is an Indiana State legend with great passion for athletics and this university,” ISU President Deborah J. Curtis said. “We are grateful that he has chosen to continue impacting the lives of our student-athletes through this gift.” 

Said Sherard Clinkscales, ISU Director of Athletics: “Coach Klueh embodies everything it means to be a Sycamore.  His legacy as a student-athlete, coach, teacher, and administrator has left an indelible mark on this institution. His gift personifies his love for Indiana State Basketball. We are grateful for this gift, as philanthropic giving is essential to maintain the current level of support for athletics.” 

ISU men’s basketball coach Josh Schertz praised Klueh’s legacy. 

“Coach Duane Klueh is, in my and many others’ opinions, the greatest and most impactful person in our program’s history,” Schertz said. “His personal legacy exceeds his astounding professional one. Coach has spent his entire life giving, and impacting, people. And this gift is just the latest example in a lifetime full of generosity and philanthropy. We are so thankful to coach for this gift but most importantly we are blessed that Duane Klueh is a Sycamore.” 

A member of the NAIB All-Time Basketball Team, Klueh graduated as the leading scorer in Sycamore history and currently ranks as Indiana State’s ninth all-time leading scorer with 1,432 points. Klueh’s jersey, No. 54, was retired in 2004 and is one of only four retired jerseys in ISU history. Klueh won the 1948 Little States Singles Championship tennis tournament in Indiana. 

Klueh played for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets in 1949-50 and the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1950-51.  

He was selected as the Indiana Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in basketball four times. Klueh’s team had 182 victories during his 12-year tenure as head coach, earning Klueh the honor of winningest coach in program history. He served as the president of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Basketball Coaches. He is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame, and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.  

Of his gift to ISU, Klueh said, “I hope it enables the athletic programs, specifically basketball, to not just attain but maintain the level of competition and the ability to attract good people, good players, and individuals to the university. I just have great optimism for the continuing excellence of all the sports at the university, especially basketball.” 

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