INDIANAPOLIS -- Wayne Radford, an Indianapolis high school basketball star who was a member of Indiana University's undefeated team in 1976, died at his Indianapolis home over the weekend. He was 64 years old.
No details on his death are known at this time.
Radford grew up in Indianapolis and was a star at Arlington High School. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 22.7 points and 10.4 rebounds as a senior in 1973-74 and led Arlington to a sectional and regional title for the first time in program history. He set nearly every school record, including career points (1,327) and rebounds (686). He helped Arlington win its first-ever City Tournament in 1971-72.
Radford played four years at Indiana and became a full-time starter as a senior in 1977-78, averaging 15.6 points for a team that went 21-8 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. He was a reserve who played a key role on Indiana's two greatest teams in 1975 and 1976. The 1976 teams was the last NCAA team to finish a season undefeated (32-0) and is considered to be college basketball's greatest team.
Radford played for the Hoosiers from 1974-78 and appeared in 109 games and averaged 8.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists. As a senior, he averaged 15.6 points and led the team in field goal percentage hitting 57.9% of his shots. He ranks sixth all-time at IU in field goal percentage making 55.3% of his field goal attempts.
He earned Academic All-American and Academic All-Big Ten honors during his career with the Hoosiers. He was named team MVP in 1978.
"Wayne and I hit it off immediately when he got to Bloomington, and he was a great guy on and off the court,'' said former teammate Kent Benson, who played with Radford for three years at Indiana. "He was a good Christian man and a hard worker, and he had a lot of great moments on those teams of ours. He was a very important player for us.''
Radford was an outstanding defensive player, and Benson said he was always prepared to be at his best, both in practice and the games.
"During games, when they'd start, he'd be on the bench, but he was watch so closely what the guys were doing out there that he would have to guard,'' Benson said. "He was always focused and always so prepared. He helped us win a lot of games, that's for sure. Those '75 and '76 years, he came off the bench for us, but he probably would have started at every other school.''
Radford was selected by the Indiana Pacers in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft and he played one season in Indianapolis, averaging 3.9 points in 50 games before an ankle injury derailed his season.
Radford was inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Benson said he and Radford kept in touch often through the years and would see each other around Bloomington. Both are good Christians and had a lot in common. But they had that inseparable bond, too, of being teammates on college basketball's last undefeated team.
"Our team as a whole, we came from different paths and had different lifestyles, but when we walked into Assembly Hall, we were unified,'' Benson said. "We were all very close and we all respected and protected each other on and off the court.''
Radford remained actively involved with Indiana throughout the years, and was praised by current Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson on Monday. The two have worked together on projects throughout the years.
“The IU Athletics family is heartbroken about the passing of Wayne Radford,'' Dolson said Monday morning. "Wayne was an outstanding student-athlete and a key member of some of our basketball program’s all-time great teams in the 1970s.
"He was also one of our most involved and passionate alums for more than four decades, an active Varsity Club member who made an enormous contribution to our department as a member of our Varsity Club National Board of Directors. Wayne did all of that because he loved IU and IU Athletics, and he was committed to making a difference on behalf of our student-athletes. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy and the entire Radford family.”
Related stories on Wayne Radford
- WOODSON ACHES AFTER BEST FRIEND'S PASSING (Jan. 12): Indiana Hall of Famer Mike Woodson was best friends with Wayne Radford, and his sudden passing has torn away at his heart. CLICK HERE
- RADFORD'S CAREER AFTER BASKETBALL: Wayne Radford had a big impact on people after basketball too, working with doctors and patients for Cook Medical for 38 years. They miss him terribly, too. CLICK HERE
- WAYNE RADFORD OBITUARY: Here is the official obituary for Wayne Radford. CLICK HERE
- HOW TO WATCH HALL OF FAME INDUCTION: The 1976 Indiana basketball team will be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday night. Here's how you can watch the virtual event. CLICK HERE