Bird's number to be retired on Feb. 28

Updated: January 15, 2004, 9:11 AM ET
Associated Press

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Larry Bird's No. 33, already retired by the Boston Celtics, will be retired at Indiana State, where he led the Sycamores to the NCAA championship game 25 years ago.

No one has worn that number at Indiana State since Bird left in 1979, but the university wants to make it official, athletic director Andi Myers said.

Former player and coach Duane Klueh's No. 54 jersey also will be retired during a ceremony at halftime of Indiana State's home finale against Northern Iowa on Feb. 28.

"This is long overdue in both their cases," Myers said.

Bird, now the Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations, was an All-American and college player of the year in 1979, when he led his team to the nation's No. 1 ranking. The Sycamores were undefeated until they lost the NCAA tournament championship game to Michigan State. Bird played 13 years with the Celtics and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"Nobody around here is going to believe it, but in a few years not every kid growing up is going to know who Larry Bird is," Myers said. "It's very important, not only to our school but to people in the community, to remind them we have very rich tradition here."

Klueh played at Indiana State in 1946-49 and was the Helms Foundation player of the year in 1948. He then played in the NBA with Denver and Fort Wayne and returned to Indiana State as a basketball and tennis coach.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press