clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where are they now?: Tom Coverdale is Indiana basketball's answer to dadbod

Everyone's favorite redhead earned a spot in our hearts with his scrappy play and tough as nails work ethic. Basically, every buzzword used for your favorite white NFL wide receiver also doubles for Tom Coverdale. And for that, we love him.

(Note: This is part of an ongoing series, and if there are any players you would like to see chronicled, let us know in the comments)

Last week, our own Kyle Swick wrote a SCORCHING HOT and TOTALLY SERIOUS article about how Indiana needs to get back to 'crootin people who understand the tradition at IU. Individuals who grew up with cuts and scrapes from too much driveway basketball. Men who are one with the Bobby Knight mentality. Basically, Kyle was trying to say that we need to recruit 5 Tom Coverdales (Incidentally, Coverdale's dadbod now also fits Swick's physical recruiting profile, as well).

1. Before Indiana

The versatile point guard out of Noblesville, Indiana quickly became a high school legend by showcasing his game for the Noblesville Millers in the late 90's. Despite amassing over 1,900 points for his career and being named Mr. Basketball in Indiana in 1998, Coverdale speaks openly of his team's semi-state run in 1997 (Its first playoff appearance in 34 years) as his most cherished high school moment .

While he garnered interest from coaches and programs around the country, as soon as Robert Montgomery Knight extended a scholarship his way, it was game over. As he explains it:

" Really the deciding factor for me was that I grew up an Indiana fan and had watched them my whole life. So I knew as soon as they offered me a scholarship, I'd stop the whole recruiting process because I knew I wanted to go there since I was a little kid. Basically that was the decision for me. I had always went to games there and just thought about how fun it'd be to play there so when I had the opportunity, even though they wanted me to go to a prep school first, I took it without even hesitating." - (Source)

2. The Glory Years

Coverdale arrived in Bloomington as a smallish guard and struggled to crack the rotation during his freshman year. During his sophomore year, though, he found his niche and broke through as a 3-point launching assist-man who could easily get under opponents' skin. Much like Aaron Craft and Joakim Noah after him, Coverdale was a player that was loved if he was on your sideline while being equally despised by opposing fans.

He also had a knack for the big game. On December 5th, 2000, Coverdale announced his arrival on the scene by dropping 30 points in an 86-78 upset victory over #10 Notre Dame. Later that season, he led IU past #4 Illinois in a 58-56 thriller in the Big Ten Semifinals with a game high 17 points.

He saved his biggest moment, however, for the biggest stage. During Indiana's improbable title-game run in 2002, a hobbled Coverdale was named as the South Region MVP as IU advanced to their first title game in 15 years. While he still often talks about how that game could have been different if his ankle hadn't bothered him (He couldn't put pressure on it the day before the game), Coverdale's reputation was already set in stone. The 6'2" guard ended his career with 1,217 points and 500 assists (3rd in team history), and is the only player in Hoosier history to finish their career with 1,000 points, 500 assists, and 200 made 3-pointers.

While Coverdale highlights are somewhat of a white whale on YouTube, this montage of the 2001-02 team includes some solid Coverdale moments, and also does a great job of hilariously encapsulating the late 90's-early 2000's feel with Sonic Youth playing over the reel.

3. Life After Basketball

After graduating in 2003, Coverdale bounced around in the CBA for a year before venturing out to Germany to play professionally for a season. Upon his return in 2005, Coverdale began a 6-year coaching career that took him to both U-L Monroe and Tyler JC. Today, he lives back in his native Indianapolis and works as an insurance agent.

I came across his LinkedIn profile, and while unassuming at first, try and tell me that you could turn down a life insurance policy from the man in the picture below. Seriously, try. State Farm spends millions of dollars getting Chris Paul to do corny commercials in glasses and all they had to do to lock up clients in Indiana was to not let a Hoosier legend work for the competition. Honestly, this was a LAYUP, State Farm.


And while you're at it, maybe give him an endorsement for Leadership or something, because it's the least you can do.

Back to the point, though. Tom Coverdale was a quintessential Hoosier through and through. While IU fell one game short of his lifelong goal, Hoosier Nation could not ask for more out of a player than what they got with Coverdale. He will always be remembered for doing the little things and being a model citizen and teammate in an era for Indiana that was enduring major internal strife from its coaching ranks.