Archive for Tuesday, October 24, 1989


October 24, 1989


— Billy Tubbs of Oklahoma and Norm Stewart of Missouri, who won nine Big Eight championships between them in the 1980s, have been selected co-coaches of the decade in the Big Eight.

The same panel of 20 voters named Danny Manning, who led Kansas to the 1988 NCAA title, as the Big Eight's player of the decade.

Manning and Wayman Tisdale of Oklahoma were also the only unanimous choices for the Big Eight's all-decade team.

Stewart, dean of Big Eight coaches, won five league titles, starting with a four-year run in 1980. He also captured the 1987 championship. Tubbs won four championships, in 1984, `85, `88 and `89. It was almost a three-way tie involving former Kansas coach Larry Brown. Stewart and Tubbs each got seven first-choice and eight second-choice votes. Brown got the other six first-choice voters.

Manning and Tisdale were easily the most honored Big Eight players in the decade. Between them, they collected six conference player-of-the-year awards and helped elevate Big Eight basketball to national prominence.

Chosen by 20 voters from the six-state region, Manning and Tisdale were the only players named on every ballot. Voters, asked to pick the five best players and not necessarily by position, filled out the squad with Steve Stipanovich of Missouri, Rolando Blackman of Kansas State and Jeff Grayer of Iowa State.

All five were first-round picks by the NBA.

The 6-10 Manning, the overall No. 1 NBA draft pick in 1988, is the Big Eight's career scoring leader with 2,951 points. The previous record of 2,661 belonged to Tisdale, who gave up his senior season and opted for the NBA after being named Big Eight player-of-the-year in 1983, `84 and `85. Manning, player of the year in 1986, `87 and `88, also finished No. 2 in Big Eight career rebounds with 1,187.

At the beginning of this decade, Big Eight basketball was long considered a poor cousin to football. But, thanks to new coaches like Brown and Tubbs and Johnny Orr at Iowa State, elite blue chip recruits like Manning and Tisdale began coming into the league. And by the end of this decade, the Big Eight had taken its place among the top basketball conferences in the country.

``It's great that we can recognize the achievements of this group that contributed so much to the Big Eight in the decade of the `80s,'' said Carl James, who became Big Eight commissioner in 1980.

Fourteen players received first-team votes, including Kansas guard Darnell Valentine, who was on the Big Eight's all-decade team for the 1970s. Named to the second team along with Valentine, who played from 1978-81, were Dave Hoppen of Nebraska, Stacey King of Oklahoma, Mitch Richmond of Kansas State and Sundvold.

Named to honorable mention were Jeff Hornacek and Barry Stevens of Iowa State; Ed Nealy, Kansas State; Matt Clark, Oklahoma State; Jay Humphries, Colorado; Derrick Chievous and Larry Drew, Missouri; Jack Moore, Nebraska, and Mookie Blaylock and Tim McCalister, Oklahoma.

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