By LARRY VAUGHT
New Indiana athletics director Scott Dolson has an interesting tie to former University of Kentucky assistant coach Delray Brooks.
Here’s what Dolson said Friday about what got him involved with Indiana athletics many years ago.
“Growing up in northern Indiana, I was eight years old when the undefeated 1975 IU men’s basketball team lost to Kentucky in the Elite 8. I remember being absolutely crushed after that loss,” Dolson said. “The following year of course IU had the perfect season going undefeated and winning the 1976 national championship. I was hooked for life. I wanted to be the next Quinn Buckner or Scott May.
“I was fortunate to make my first trip to campus that summer of 1976 as a nine-year-old to attend the Bob Knight basketball school, and realized for sure I wanted to be a part of the IU basketball program. I also realized quickly during that week that I might need to find another way to become a part of the basketball team as it wasn’t going to be as a player, being my basketball skills.”
Dolson’s best high school friend, Delray Brooks, was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1984 and the USA Today Player of the Year. He signed to play for Knight at Indiana.
“He committed to IU. When he did, he encouraged me to become a basketball manager because of a couple other player roommates were managers as well,” Dolson said. “Subsequently my entire career started with IU athletics in the fall of 1984 as a freshman manager for the IU basketball program and has been packed full with incredible experiences and leadership opportunities ever since, culminating with the announcement this week.
Brooks, of course, later transferred to play for Rick Pitino at Providence and played on a Final Four team when Pitino first came to fame due to his pressing, 3-point shooting style. Later he joined Pitino’s staff at UK from 1992-97.
“I’m telling you, had it not been for Delray encouraging me, I was coming to IU regardless, but when I did get the call this week (about becoming AD) , great news, I immediately thought back to that day because when Delray committed,” Dolson said. “He said, ‘Hey, you really need to think about becoming a manager because you love IU more than anybody I know.’
“It was just really good. If it weren’t for him, I would never have had that opportunity and here I am today.”