Sculpted by Lou Cella '85 and donated by the Don Franke family
Will Robinson was the first African-American head basketball coach in NCAA Division I history
Doug Collins was the first overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft
Two icons enshrined forever
Welcoming fans to Redbird Arena
A statue honoring Illinois State basketball greats Will Robinson and Doug Collins was unveiled on September 19, 2009. Standing on the north side of Redbird Arena, it replicates an historic photo taken of the two courtside during the 1970s. The work was sculpted by Lou Cella '85 and was donated by the Don Franke family.
Two lasting impressions
Robinson became the first African-American head basketball coach in NCAA Division I history when he was hired by Athletic Director Milt Weisbecker on February 27, 1970. He joined the University as Illinois State moved from NCAA’s College Division (now Division II) to Division I. Robinson led the Redbirds to five winning seasons before joining the NBA’s Detroit Pistons’ front office.
Collins averaged 29.1 points per game and remains the program’s all-time leading scorer. The Benton native was an All-American and Academic All-American, a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers as the first overall pick in the 1973 NBA draft. He went on to become a successful player, coach, executive and broadcaster in the NBA.