Distinguished Alumni Awards
W. W. Patty Distinguished Alumni Award
Bobby (Slick) Leaonard - 2016
Bobby (Slick) Leonard, B.S.'57 proclaimed, "We call ourselves Hoosiers" during his enshrinement speech on August 8, 2014 for his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Indeed, no one better personifies the passion and heart of a Hoosier than Bobby "Slick" Leonard. He embodies the spirt of hard work and dedication.
Leonard graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Physical Education at the former School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, now the School of Public Health-Bloomington. He became a legendary basketball player in the school's history, a two-time All-American, and the captain of the Hoosiers' 1953 NCAA championship team, where he made the game-winning free throws to secure the title.
He went on to play for seven years in the NBA with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers before starting his career as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers. During his 12 years as head coach, Leonard won 529 games and three ABA championships, the most in league history.
Leonard is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, the first person inducted into the Indiana University Sports Hall of Fame, a member of the Indiana University's All-Century Basketball Team, and was voted by a national sportswriters and broadcasters association as the ABA's All-Time Coach.
In his recent enshrinement speech, he states "I've had a love affair with the fans and the people of the state of Indiana." His involvement in the Indiana community is a perfect example of loyalty and commitment.