Remembering Huntington basketball star Steve Platt

Former Huntington University basketball coach Steve Platt led the Foresters to multiple victories over his almost 15-year-long career.
Former Huntington University basketball coach Steve Platt led the Foresters to multiple victories over his almost 15-year-long career. Photo provided.

Huntington College athlete and coach Steve Platt proved that he had the talent to reach Indiana basketball stardom. In his time as a Forester, Platt earned the name of Indiana’s all-time leading collegiate scorer.

On Saturday, Feb. 13, Platt lost his battle to liver cancer at the age of 73.

Platt’s record of 3,700 has yet to be broken even after nearly 50 years. He was inducted to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996 for his work on the Forester men’s basketball team. He also remains on the top 20 all-time list of collegiate scorers at any level, which includes the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I.  

Other accomplishments included being named to the NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, becoming the first Huntington University Hall of Fame inductee in 1974, being named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary Team in 1990 and receiving the Huntington College Centennial Medallion in 1997.

He was also named Huntington University’s Alumnus of the Year in 1987 and 2003.

Platt was a 1974 graduate of Huntington College. He also spent nearly 15 years as a coach for the Forester Men’s basketball team, coaching from the start of the 1994 season to the end of the 2007-2008 academic year.

In an article published by Huntington University in March of 2008, Dr. G. Blair Dowden, president, said, “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 into our men’s basketball program over the last 14 years.”

Huntington University Athletic Director Lori Culler echoes those words now.

“Steve impacted many aspects of Huntington University throughout his lifetime,” Culler said. “But none greater than his impact on the basketball court.”

Platt retired as the reigning Mid-Central College Conference Coach of the Year. It was his second time receiving the honor.

Culler notes that his influence didn’t stop during his time as a player, but also left an imprint during his time as a coach. Platt took over during a drought for the Foresters, who hadn’t had a winning season in 17 years.

“He turned the program into an NAIA powerhouse,” Culler said.

Platt managed to do so by having multiple national championship appearances and a No. 1 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national ranking for the first time in program history. His impact on the court also related to his faith and the importance of family.

“It wasn’t all about the winning with Steve,” Culler said. “He instilled in his players the importance of a relationship with Christ, a love for family and the necessity of hard work.”

Culler says that Platt was a role model for many of the young men he coached and that he stood as a father figure for many who were “away from family for the first time.”

Culler believes that Platt’s legacy will live on at HU and “will continue on through the many lives of those he mentored.”

Platt managed his accomplishments at Huntington College all while manning a farm and raising two children, Ty and Polly, with his wife, Peggy.

Ty would go on to follow in his father’s footsteps, taking on coaching the Forester Men’s basketball program after his father retired in 2008.

Steve is survived by his wife and children. Other survivors includue three sisters and four grandchildren.