(Jan. 22, 1927-May 26, 1995). Robert Joseph (Bob) Collins, longtime columnist and sports editor for The Indianapolis Star, penned one of the most popular and well-read bylines in the newspaper’s history. He spent over four decades at The Star, chasing deadlines from the greens of Augusta National, to the Olympic stadium in Rome, to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and to high school basketball gyms across the state, covering Bobby Plump, Mario Andretti, Oscar Robertson, and Bob Knight, among countless others.

An Indianapolis native who attended Cathedral High School and BUTLER UNIVERSITY, Collins landed at the Star in 1947 for a 3-week internship and wound up staying 43 years. He rose to prominence covering the Milan Miracle, the legendary Cinderella win of Milan High School (enrollment 161) over the much larger Muncie High School for the Ihsaa state championship in 1954, which inspired the 1986 film Hoosiers. Collins chronicled high school hoops in its heyday in a state that worshiped the game.

Collins was also among the first to defend the state’s next great dynasty–Coach Ray Crowe and famed player Oscar Robertson’s Crispus Attucks teams–despite vicious, racist criticism. He counted his Attucks stories among his proudest accomplishments.

He turned down overtures from bigger newspapers in bigger cities, instead becoming sports editor at the Star in 1964 and continuing with his columns, “Sports Over Lightly” and “The Lighter Side.” To know Collins was to have a great Bob Collins story, including the time he published Indiana University basketball coach Knight’s home phone number in the paper. But he was beloved by the subjects he wrote about and readers alike and was instrumental in the formation of the Indiana Pacers and the rise of the Indianapolis 500. He was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1990.

Revised March 2021

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