Throughout the day, we'll take a look back at iconic figures — one per school — from Big Ten's basketball past. The sixth installment:
Whatever happened to ... Minnesota’s Clem Haskins
Then: A banner season at Western Kentucky and a second-round appearance in the 1986 NCAA tournament earned “The Gem” a call from Minnesota, which was looking to replace Jim Dutcher. During his 13 seasons, Haskins led the Gophers to six NCAA tournament appearances and four trips to the NIT. His 1996-97 team reached the Final Four, and his 1997-98 Gophers won the NIT. But it all came crashing down just before the 1999 NCAA tournament, when a story broke about academic fraud within the program. An academic worker within the athletic department was paid to do coursework for team members. Haskins was implicated in the scandal and forced to resign. The school was given a four-year NCAA probation and forced to vacate NCAA and NIT wins. Haskins was given a seven-year “show cause” order by the NCAA, effectively ending his college coaching career.
Now: Lives near his alma mater, Western Kentucky. He worked on television broadcasts for the Hilltoppers until a few years ago. He recently was honored by the school for being one of the first two African-Americans to play at Western Kentucky. He is a frequent visitor to the campus and attends games.
What they’re saying: “Clem Haskins brought acclaim to the Gophers’ basketball program, as well as the school’s only Final Four appearance in 1997. That Final Four team had 31 wins, and Haskins won a national Coach of the Year award. Two years later, the St. Paul Pioneer Press revealed an academic cheating scandal involving the Gophers. The scandal left Haskins’ reputation in shambles, and Gopher wins during his tenure were vacated.” — Bob Sansevere, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist