In his book, Playing For Knight, Steve Alford described one of his freshman high school varsity basketball experiences this way:
If anything stands out from my freshman year, it is my brief appearance in a sectional tournament game against Richmond at the New Castle Fieldhouse. Our star player that year was Kevin Stephens, a very good shooting guard. With just under a minute left in the third quarter of a close game, Dad [Coach Sam Alford] thought Kevin needed a breather, so he told me to go in for him. When I ran over to the scorer’s table to check in, I got a standing boo from the home crowd.
As everyone knows, boos turned to cheers for the young man who went on to have a stellar career in basketball.
Steve Alford graduated in 1983, a four-year varsity letter-winner in basketball. He played in 92 games and was a prolific scorer, amassing 2,116 total points, 1,078 his senior year. He was NCC scoring champion his junior and senior seasons, averaging 29.43 and 39.14. He scored over 50 points in a game three times and over 40 points eight times. In the 1983 semi-state, he set a state scoring record by collecting 57 points in the afternoon game. Oh, yes… and he was automatic at the free throw line, leading the nation by shooting 94 percent.
Steve’s honors in high school basketball included: All-NCC all three years, All-State two years, High School All-American in 1983, Fellowship of Christian Athletes National Player of the Year (he and Mike Kovaleski were co-presidents of the local FCA huddle), 1983 Converse National Player of the Year, and, of course, 1983 Mr. Basketball.
At Indiana University, Steve’s individual honors continued: four-time MVP and leading scorer for the Hoosiers, Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten three years, Big Ten MVP in 1987, two-time All-American (1986 and 1987). His teams were Big Ten Champions in 1987 and NCAA National Champions in 1987. Also, during his college career, Steve played on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team that won the gold medal.
After college, Steve played professional basketball for four years with the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden St. Warriors. Then he entered the coaching ranks. He has coached men’s basketball at Manchester College, Missouri State University and the University of Iowa.
Steve Alford currently coaches at the University of New Mexico and lives in Albuquerque with his wife, Tanya, and their three children. Recognition of his basketball achievements continues this year, with his induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.