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Senior builds family of friends on basketball team

April 27, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. —As a campus tour guide, a student worker, and a basketball player, Stephen Calhoun has served as the face of the Indiana University Kokomo campus to many prospective and incoming students.

Stephen Calhoun

Since arriving on campus hoping to walk on to the basketball team, he’s become a cheerleader for IU Kokomo, and the opportunities he’s gained.

“It turned out to be a great experience,” he said. “All the professors here are really great about working with you and helping you succeed.”

Through playing basketball, Calhoun has built a community of friends he considers brothers, and he knows those friendships will continue long after he graduates in May.

“I will miss my brothers, and definitely will keep in touch,” he said. “I’ve built some bonds to last a lifetime. I plan to come back to catch some games next year. It’s going to be hard, because I’m going to want to be out there playing, but I will be there.”

Basketball attracted Calhoun to the campus, after he graduated from Herron High School in Indianapolis. As a freshman, he paid attention to the seniors, and learned from their example. Now, he hopes he leaves his own legacy for the underclassmen on the team.

“When I was a freshman, the seniors taught us how to lead, and how to be there for our teammates,” he said. “The example I leave is to be there for your teammates, however they need you, however you can help them out. Help whoever you can, whenever you can, approach everything with the best attitude possible, and don’t take any days off.”

He’s proud of the progress the Cougars made in his four years on the team, including setting a record for most wins in a season, and most conference wins in a season his senior year. The team had a new coach his final season, who came with a complete 180-degree change in playing style — a change he enjoyed.

“We used to be slow-paced, grind it out,” he said. “My senior year, we’ve been fast-paced. The team bought into it from the first day. We committed to being successful. It was a great year. I’m happy to go out like that.”

Calhoun is especially pleased with the team’s 11-3 record in Cougar Gym, because “it’s a great feeling to know you can hold your own on your home court.”

He noted he is especially thankful for the support of his parents, Stephen and Kim Calhoun, and of his brother and sister, while he’s earned his degree.

“I appreciate everything they’ve done,” he said.

Calhoun was inspired to earn a degree in criminal justice by the school resource officer at Warren Central High School, which he attended before transferring to Herron. 

“He was a really cool guy, and everyone respected him,” Calhoun said. “He was someone everyone could talk to, and that stuck with me. I talk to the campus officers here a lot too. I feel like law enforcement officers can really effect change in their communities, and that is something I would like to do.”

He’s interested in serving as an Indiana State Police trooper.

In addition to playing basketball, Calhoun has worked in the Cole Fitness Center and in the Office of Admissions. In that capacity, his face and name have been on the live chat feature of the campus website for the last year, and he’s led tours for potential students.

Todd Gambill, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, noted Calhoun has served as an ambassador for the campus in that role.

“Stephen is great on campus tours,” said Gambill. “Students appreciate that he is ‘real,’ and can talk about his experiences as a student, as a student employee, and as a student athlete. Parents love him because he is articulate, respectful, and enthusiastic.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 04/27/2018