Huntington, Ind.—Steve Platt, 14-year coach of the Huntington University men’s basketball team, will retire at the end of the 2007-2008 academic year.
He will retire as the reigning Mid-Central College Conference Coach of the Year, his second time receiving the honor.
“I am deeply saddened by Coach Platt’s decision,” said Dr. G. Blair Dowden, president, at a press conference earlier today. “No one has had a larger impact on Forester men’s basketball than Steve Platt. I am filled with gratitude for the countless hours of service and leadership that he has invested in our men’s basketball program over the past 14 years.”
Platt became the 23rd head coach in Huntington University’s 80-year men’s basketball history at the beginning of 1994 season. In his tenure as head coach, he has guided the Foresters to five MCC regular season titles, five MCC tournament championships, two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics final four appearances, including national runners-up in 2006 and seven national tournament appearances in the last nine years.
His players have earned 23 All-America honors, including an NAIA National Player of the Year, 42 All-Conference honors, and on eight occasions, a Forester has been named MCC Player of the Year.
Steve Platt coaching with Ty Platt (left)
Platt, who has compiled 329 wins against 143 losses as head coach, saw his 2006-2007 squad earn the top spot in the NAIA Division II national rankings for the first time in the program’s history. They remained atop the list for three weeks in December. Platt led the team to another MCC regular season and tournament championship. The Foresters knocked off the 9th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats in the final game to earn their sixth consecutive trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Branson, Mo.
In 2007-2008, Platt’s final season at the Forester helm, he took a young team that was picked to finish fourth in the MCC pre-season Coaches’ Poll and led his players to a 22-10 record and a second place finish in the conference standings. The loss of NAIA All-American Doug Sheckler after a late-season injury undoubtedly hurt the squad’s chances of earning a seventh consecutive trip to the national tournament.
Platt’s winning percentage of .697 is the highest in school history. He reached the 100-win plateau faster than any previous Huntington men’s basketball coach during his sixth season at the helm and notched his 300th win on Jan. 30, 2007, with a 66-48 victory over conference rival Taylor University.
Steve Platt cuts down the net in celebration of winning an MCC tournament.
“I inherited a program, and I wanted to leave it better than I found it,” Platt said. “Hopefully, I did that.”
As a player for Huntington College from 1970-1974, Platt led the Foresters to a record of 78-38. In the process of that achievement, Platt was a four-time selection as All-District Player of the Year and an NAIA All-American.
Platt continues to hold several records for the Foresters. He remains the state of Indiana’s all-time collegiate leader in scoring with 3,700 points, placing him seventh on the all-time list of collegiate scorers at any level, including NCAA Division I. Platt twice led the nation in scoring, averaging 36 points per game in 1972-1973 and 38 points per game in 1973-1974.
Steve Platt coaches his players in a national tournament game in 2006.
Among many other records still held by Platt, he continues to lead Huntington University in career rebounds (1,917), career field goals made (1,463) and career free throws made (774).
The Washington Bullets of the NBA drafted Platt following his senior season. Platt was the final player released from the Bullets following the pre-season schedule.
Platt was recognized in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel as one of Northeast Indiana’s Top 50 Athletes of the Century. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996, the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, and was the first inductee to the Huntington University Hall of Fame in 1974. Platt also was a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary Team in 1990 and a Huntington College Centennial Medallion recipient in 1997. He was named Huntington University’s Alumnus of the Year in 1987 and 2003.
Steve Platt as a player for the Huntington College men's basketball team in the early 1970s
Platt was born in Bluffton, Ind., on Nov. 2, 1947, and graduated from Union Township High School in 1965. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Huntington College in 1974. He served as assistant coach for the Foresters from 1976-1981 under head coach Keith Spahr. Platt and his wife, Peggy, live east of Huntington and farm more than 1,100 acres of land. Their son, Ty, is the associate head coach of HU’s men’s basketball team.
“I think the world of my dad,” Ty Platt said. “He’s been a teacher for me and a leader for me for 38 years. What he’s been able to do in his 14 years at Huntington University is nothing short of amazing.”
At the press conference, Steve Platt expressed appreciation to his players, Huntington University employees, community supporters and his family.
“You can only be successful if your partner is with you 100 percent,” he said. “My wife is a wonderful lady. I have to thank her more than she wants to be thanked.”
At A Glance
Head Men’s Basketball Coach
(left to right) Jim Hoffman, Keith Spahr, Steve Platt and Dr. E. DeWitt Baker at Platt's NAIA Hall of Fame induction in 1987
14 seasons as head coach at HU
5 MCC Tournament Championships
5 MCC Regular Season Championships
1 NAIA National Runner-Up
2 Final Four Appearances
7 National Tournament Appearances
5 Sweet Sixteens
3 Elite Eights
2 Final Fours
1 Championship Game
23 All-American Honors
42 All-Conference Honors
8 MCC Players of the Year
More than 300 Wins
MCC Coach of the Year (1999-2000, 2007-2008)
Steve Platt on the farm
As a Player
4-time All District Player of the Year
4-time NAIA All-American
Indiana Collegiate Scoring Leader (3,700 pts.)
Drafted by Washington Bullets
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (1996)
NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame (1987)
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