Former Indiana State University and University of Indianapolis head basketball coach Royce Waltman has died.
Waltman, 72, had fought health problems over the past few years, including cancer and a stroke, according to reports.
Waltman coached at Indiana State from 1997 to 2007 and at the University of Indianapolis from 1992 to 1997 (as well as the 2007-2008 season). He also coached at DePauw University from 1988 to 1992. Under Waltman, the teams he coached won more than 100 games at each school, and all three when to the NCAA National Tournament. His overall collegiate record is 337-263 (.562).
Waltman was an assistant coach at Indiana University during the 1987 season.
Former IU Coach Bob Knight spoke to WTHR anchor Scott Swan by phone, saying, "I never had a better assistant coach than Royce was. A guy that was smarter about the game of basketball or just a better person than Royce was. When it comes time to write everything in the final tally, Royce Waltman will be one of the nicest, one of the best, one of the smartest people I've ever known."
Knight added, "Royce was just good. He understood the game. He taught the game well. He was very adept at getting kids to play their best. And as I said, there's nobody that I've been associated with in the game of basketball or out of the game of basketball than I respected more than Royce Waltman."
"Royce was one of these coaches that endeared himself to everybody, even those who he got angry with now and then. Everybody that knew him respected him and liked him. He was a terrific basketball coach but he was much more than that to everyone he knew. The time we spent with him on our broadcasts were absolutely special," said Don Fischer, Voice of the Hoosiers.
Indiana University men's head basketball coach Tom Crean commented, "In just learning of the passing of Coach Waltman, we have profound sadness and feel for his wife, Carole, and everyone in his family. Royce was a very special person who gave so much to the game of basketball and without question impacted everyone he coached, worked with and supported. His knowledge of the game and ability to teach it was only eclipsed by the way he made you feel when you were with him. Personally, I respected him long before I came to Indiana. In getting to know Royce here, I was incredibly fortunate to have become his friend. The genuine respect he would impart on me and the program was heartfelt and will always be remembered."
He added, "The sign of this mans toughness was on our trip to New York when we played Washington and UConn in the Wounded Warrior project We all knew he was in pain and he went great lengths to not show it and stayed focused on his radio duties. It was another example of what made him a great leader, his poise under pressure and putting others before himself. Not only are my thoughts and prayers with Coach Waltman's family, but with people like Brad Brownell, Rick Ray, Dick Bender and the countless others who lost a father figure."