Has there ever been a more colorful Indiana coach in any sport than Lee Corso?
Yes, Bob Knight generated more attention, good and bad, but Corso was hilarious. Even with bad football teams, and he had several of those, he found a way to entertain. Remember one of his coach’s shows, following a loss, where the camera showed him in a coffin as if he was dead. Then he popped up and said, “We ain’t dead, yet.”
And so the Hoosiers weren’t.
Corso left IU and eventually became one of the most recognizable sports commentators in America at ESPN. But it’s his run at IU, which included a dramatic 38-37 victory over previously unbeaten Brigham Young in the 1979 Holiday Bowl, that has earned him an induction into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Corso went 41-68-2 from 1973-82 that included two winnings seasons. The Hoosiers finished No. 19 in 1979.
Corso also coached at Louisville, Northern Illinois and in the USFL. He’s been an analyst at ESPN since 1987.
“Lee Corso’s induction as a great IU football coach is particularly exciting for me given he led the Hoosiers during my time as a student,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a university release.
Ironically, Corso was fired in 1982. He found out about that while at Fort Wayne Snider High School recruiting Rod Woodson, who went on to have an outstanding career at Purdue and in the NFL.
Five other former athletes will be inducted, including former basketball standout Steve Green. He was a key member of the 1975 team that went 31-1 and might have won the national championship if Scott May hadn’t broken his arm late in the season.
Green scored 1,265 career points and averaged 14.5 points. He led IU in scoring his last two years at 16.7 and 16.6. He also was co-captain those last two years while earning All-Big Ten honors. He ranks sixth in school history with a 53.8 percent career shooting percentage.
Green was selected by the ABA’s Utah Stars and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. He played a year with Utah and the Spirits of St. Louis before spending three seasons with the Indiana Pacers. He later played a year in Italy before becoming a dentist.
Also inducted were former IU football players Chuck Bennett (1926-28) and Van Waiters (1983, 85-87), women’s basketball player Denise (Jackson) Salters (1981-84) and men’s golfer Wayne McDonald.
Waiters was an all-conference linebacker and second-team All-America who played for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings. Salters is IU’s career record holder for scoring (1,917 points) and rebounding (1,273).
Bennett was an All-American running back for the Hoosiers who later became a high school football coach and athletic director in Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois.
McDonald is the only IU golfer to earn All-America honors twice. He was second at the NCAA tourney in 1969.
The six will be inducted during a ceremony on Oct. 29.
“The strength of this class underscores the rich tradition of student-athletes at Indiana University,” Glass said.