Basketball coaching legend Marv Wood dies from cancer
By NELLIE WILLIAMS
Marv Wood, the former Saint Mary's basketball coach who inspired the movie "Hoosiers," died Wednesday, Oct. 13, from bone cancer. He was 71.
In 1954, Wood took his small town team from Milan, Ind., to the state championship, where it defeated city school Muncie Central.
After coaching at Milan, Wood coached at Mishawaka High School, Indianapolis North Central, New Castle, for Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and Saint Mary's.
"I went to the athletic director and said I know this coach," said Tammie Radke, a former Saint Mary's player who played under Wood for AAU.
"He blew [the athletic department] over," she said. "He had a history of coaching for so many years. He played in college. He knew what it was like to be an underdog and helped us win some games we probably shouldn't have."
Wood began coaching at Saint Mary's in 1984. For 11 years he coached the Belles, teaching them not only game skills, but life skills as well.
"He was very supportive [and] treated me like a son," said Frank Notturno, one of Wood's assistant coaches. "[He] made himself available to talk to, lend advice, [and he] was there when I was alone during the holidays."
"He was more concerned about us in life than he was us in basketball," said former player Charlotte Albrecht.
Albrecht played for Wood in his last year of coaching, after Wood had already survived one bout with cancer.
"Everyday was a [life] lesson to be learned by us from him. He would come to practice and say `It's a great day to be alive,'" Albrecht said. "He was different from any other coach I'd ever met. He wasn't so much about winning in basketball — he was more about winning in life."
"He kind of symbolizes everything you wanted in a coach — determined, focused," said Julie Radke, who also played for Wood. "He knew so much about the game and really cared about the players who played for him. He was a great man."
Notturno recalled Wood's style on the court.
"I remember when I offered to scout opposing teams prior to playing them. [He] said, `Son, we don't do any scouting here. We watch what the other team does in the first few minutes and then we adjust,'" he said.
Wood was a friend with everyone, said John Kovach, Wood's assistant coach during his last year at Saint Mary's.
"He knew everybody," said Kovach. "I loved the season [1995-1996] I spent with him. He knew what he wanted to execute as far as his coaching style. As a coach, he had this quiet confidence about himself.
"[Wood was a] very fair individual and had expectations from everyone," Kovach continued. [He] knew the game needed to be fun."
All News Stories for Thursday, October 28, 1999