On Saturday, Feb. 18, one of Doane's coaching icons will get the ultimate honor: his name on the court. Legendary Tigers' basketball coach Bob Erickson's signature will adorn Doane's new basketball court, a tribute to the legacy of a man who shaped thousands of Doane athletes.
Doane College will dedicate the court and display Erickson's signature at halftime of the 4 p.m. men's basketball game against Dordt College. The public is invited to both the game and a reception that follows in the Gibson Hall of Fame Room on the upper level of the George & Sally Haddix Recreation and Athletic Center. The dedication will include members of the Erickson family. Erickson's signature will be permanently added to the floor over the summer.
Erickson, who passed away in 2009, was both a star athlete and coaching legend at Doane. As head men's basketball coach from 1962-1998, he amassed a 589-483 record, 11th all-time for wins in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. His teams posted 27 winning seasons.
In his career, Erickson produced 10 NAIA All-Americans, was named State College Coach-of-the-Year by the Lincoln Journal-Star and Omaha World-Herald and was cited for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Award and its Merit Award for Distinguished Coaching.
"Having played for Coach Erickson, I know how deserving he is of this honor," Doane Athletic Director Greg Heier said. "Coach Erickson had a great competitive spirit coupled with a quick wit that he used with great effectiveness to lead his teams. He held all of his players to high standards of conduct and performance and all who played for him know the critical roles that teamwork and discipline play in achieving success. He was a great coach getting the most out of all his teams, though his most lasting legacy will be the life lessons he taught to his players by the way he coached the game of basketball."
Many former players and coaching peers shared memories of Erickson after his death at age 79, remembering a coach who helped athletes develop as both players and people. They respected his intensity, his presence and the way he inspired them. They also traded memories about his one-of-a-kind competitive drive and the way he would challenge a referee call. Referees toasted Erickson in 1996 with a one-time Bent Chair Award. The following year, he was inducted into the NAIA Hall-Fame.
Erickson served as Doane's athletic director from 1972-98 in addition to his coaching duties. During his tenure he added women's athletic programs, introduced soccer programs and hired three coaches (Gene Steinmeyer, WB; Fran Schwenk, football; Cindy Meyer, volleyball) who became the winningest coaches in their sports at Doane.
"Doane athletics today is built in large part on the shoulders of the lifelong work and passion of Coach Erickson," Heier added. "Having the court named in his honor is a highly fitting reminder of all the contributions Coach Erickson made to Doane College."