Elkhart's Todd Meier recalls IU's 1987 national title team, waits for next one

Elkhart resident Todd Meier was a captain on the 1987 Hoosier title team. Now, he's co-hosting WNIT's presentation of a documentary on IU basketball Wednesday.

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 5:20 p.m.

ELKHART — Todd Meier says hardly a day goes by, especially during basketball season, that either somebody doesn't ask him about Indiana University's 1987 national title team or he doesn't think about it on his own.

Meier, who moved to Elkhart in 2011, remains proud that he was a tri-captain for the 1987 Hoosiers — the last IU basketball team to win a national title.

He's just not crazy about the fact that it's still the last team.

"I think it's amazing that much time has passed," Meier said last week as he prepared to co-host an airing of an IU basketball documentary Wednesday, March 12, on local PBS TV station WNIT.


"Hoosier Rising: The Past and Present of Indiana University Basketball" is a documentary that will air on WNIT at the following times:

• March 12, 8 p.m. (with Todd Meier, John Laskowski, Charlie Adams live in studio)
• March 14, 12:30 a.m.
• March 16, 10 p.m.

"On those (five national title) banners, the longest gap is about 22, 23 years (from 1953 to 1976)," Meier pointed out, "and now here we are going on 27 years."

Not that there haven't been some promising chances since that last title.

The 1992-93 team was widely regarded as the nation's best, but an injury to Alan Henderson helped lead to a second-round NCAA Tournament dismissal. The 2001-02 club, Mike Davis' second after replacing legendary Bob Knight, advanced to the title game before losing to Maryland. And just last season, the Hoosiers were a No. 1 seed before falling to Syracuse in the Sweet 16.

Meier moved from his native Wisconsin to Elkhart in the fall of 2011 upon accepting a position at Bennington Marine. He is vice president of sales for the company that makes pontoon boats. He and Kris, his wife of 28 years, have two adult children.

Meier remains an active supporter of IU basketball, estimating that he attends 75 percent of the home games, typically accompanying a South Bend friend who flies to the games.


Bob Knight stepped outside his usual Indiana/Illinois/Ohio base to recruit Meier, a 6-foot-8 Wisconsin all-state forward/center from Oshkosh, in 1983. Meier, also a state shot put champion, became besieged by knee ailments at IU. His best season was as a sophomore, when he averaged 3.7 points and 2.5 rebounds. As a senior on IU's 1987 national title team, he was tri-captain with Steve Alford and Daryl Thomas. He also had that team's second-best rebound-per-minute ratio with 43 in 190. Meier said he visited with about 10-12 coaches when he was recruited, but that IU was an easy first choice. "My second choice was Wisconsin, but they were just trying to stay out of the (Big Ten) cellar back then."

It hasn't always been that way for Meier, though.

"I go more now that I'm back in Indiana, and more since it's Coach (Tom) Crean," Meier said of the man who took over the program in 2008. "(Ex-coach Kelvin) Sampson and Coach Davis pretty much had a cold shoulder toward former players for whatever reason, but now we've been made to feel very welcome."

Meier said he still keeps in occasional and friendly touch with Knight, who in 1987 called Meier "as compelling a story as we've ever had here" based on the way Meier battled through serious knee issues to make "tremendous contributions."

While Meier does still back IU, that doesn't mean he was OK with Knight's firing in 2000.

"I have to say I don't know the inside stuff that went on, but I'm not real happy with Coach being dismissed the way he was," Meier said.

Naturally, Knight is the preeminent figure in the documentary, "Hoosier Rising: The Past and Present of Indiana University Basketball."

While the program, made in cooperation with IU, has been out for more than a year, Wednesday's 8 p.m. presentation will mark its first showing on local TV.

Meier will be accompanied in the WNIT studio by former IU basketball commentator John Laskowski and former local sports anchor Charlie Adams as live hosts of the presentation.

The two-hour event is part of the station's March membership campaign. It will re-air at 12:30 a.m. March 14 and 10 p.m. March 16.

"I've done a lot of TV interviews, but never participated in an event like this, so I'm a little nervous, but it should be fun," Meier said. "I've called Laskowski, since he's a quasi professional."

Laskowski, a former South Bend St. Joseph star who became known as "Super Sub" during his IU playing career from 1971 to '75, narrates the documentary.


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