Former ISU basketball coach loses battle with cancer

Royce Waltman / File Photo
Royce Waltman / File Photo

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Winning wasn’t a big part of Indiana state basketball until Royce Waltman took over in the late 1990’s.

Sadly the coach who turned the Sycamores from contenders to champions has died.

After a lengthy illness, the 72-year-old passed away late Monday night. Coach had an amazing run on the sidelines.

“In just learning of the passing of Coach Waltman, we have profound sadness and feel for his wife, Carol and everyone in his family.  Royce was a very special person who gave so much to the game of basketball and without question impacted everyone he coached, worked with and supported,” said Tom Crean, Indiana University head coach. “His knowledge of the game and ability to teach it was only eclipsed by the way he made you feel when you were with him.  Personally, I respected him long before I came to Indiana.  In getting to know Royce here, I was incredibly fortunate to have become his friend. The genuine respect he would impart on me and the program was heartfelt and will always be remembered.”

He was an assistant under Bob Knight on IU’s 1987 national championship team.

Waltman later coached at DePauw, guiding the Tigers to the Division III national finals. His next stop was at the University of Indianapolis.

Twice he led the Greyhounds to the Division II national tourney.

His work at U. Indy landed him his job in Terre Haute.  From 1997-2007 he racked up 134 wins, the second most in ISU history.

Waltman is the only coach in school history to guide ISU to two NCAA tournament appearances.

Sports 10 had the chance to talk to several of Coach Waltman’s former ISU players, as you can imagine they are taking his passing hard.

“Royce Waltman was a remarkable person with a brilliant coaching mind; I learned                  so much about life and basketball from Coach. He was personable, caring, yet tough as any individual I ever knew. Coach taught his players the importance of being a good person and doing things the right (honest) way! I will treasure the time I played for Coach Waltman and our friendship since. I will miss hearing him tell stories, his humor and his persona known well to those close to him. He has been a coach, mentor and friend to so many. Coach Waltman will certainly have a lasting impression on the lives of others for generations. He will be missed greatly.” – Matt Renn 2001 All-MVC Sycamore

“It was truly a blessing to have played for Coach Waltman at I.S.U. Coach was truly a mentor who not only taught me how to play basketball, but how to be a positive influence on my family and friends. Coach will be missed greatly, but his legacy will continue through his past players and coaches that are carrying on his message on and off the basketball court. Throughout this year’s tourney coaches talked about the bond that coaches and players develop with each other and that immediately made me think of the impact that Coach Waltman had on my life.”  – Michael Menser, ISU’s all-time leader in three pointers. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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