Basketball legends live on through statue gift
Illinois State’s legendary basketball duo of head basketball coach Will Robinson and player Doug Collins ’73 have been immortalized with a campus statue unveiled this fall.
Created by Lou Cella ’85, the statue was a gift from Collins’ friend Don Franke ’71, his wife Belinda, son Matt ’04, and daughter Keisha ’04. “I’ve always wanted to do something for Doug, but I didn’t know what,” said Franke, who owns a Central Illinois construction company.
A friend of Collins while a student, Franke attended athletic events and practiced with the team. He knew and respected Robinson, who was the nation’s first NCAA Division I African-American men’s basketball coach.
Franke followed Collins’ career into the NBA years as a player and coach, and in his present position as an analyst with TNT Sportscasting. Their families remain close.
The bronze statue, which stands on a four-foot granite pedestal outside Redbird Arena, was created by Cella at the Rotblatt Amrany Fine Art Studio. Look for it when attending basketball games this season.
Also check out
- Will Robinson and Doug Collins photo gallery.
- Will Robinson and Doug Collins Statue dedication video.
- Images from the dedication ceremony.
- A video tribute to Will Robinson. And watch our other tributes on iTunesU.
- Watch Doug Collins ’73 react to the surprise of Lou Cella’s statue.
- About the artist
- And some of Lou’s other work, the Ernie Banks statue.