His initials, MB, appear in white letters in a black circle on this season’s Purdue Northwest men’s basketball jerseys.
Saturday at the Westville campus, Matt Bush, the Pride’s first coach and former coach at Purdue North Central, will be honored during a memorial service between the men’s and women’s games against Ashland.
“He and (women’s coach) Tom (Megyesi) became close when they were both coaching and Tom wanted to do something,” PNW Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Recreational Sports Shande Prance said. “He and (men’s coach) Boomer (Roberts) knew each other and Boomer has good things to say about him. Matt came in and made PNC a respectable program and he built the foundation for everything at PNW. One way or the other, we knew we needed to recognize him.”
Bush, a New Prairie graduate, coached 24 years at Morgan Township before returning to the college ranks, where he started as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Southwestern Oklahoma State. He held the record for most career wins at PNC (39) and tied the record for most wins in a season (15). His 2015-16 club earned the program’s first postseason berth to the Chicagoland College Tournament. He was named PNW coach after the Westville and Calumet extensions merged and continued to coach in spite of the effects of the cancer that ultimately claimed his life on April 9, 2018, at the age of 62.
“Matt took us into Division II and kept the team motivated with that fighting spirit he had that the guys have kept rolling,” Prance said. “The players on the team play with him in their hearts.”
Prance said that Tom Albano, the PNW Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, was working with Matty Bush, Bush’s son and assistant coach who also played for his dad in high school, on plans for the service, to be held at the James B. Dworkin Student Activities Center. Members of the Bush family will be on hand in addition to any former players who are able to make it.
The women’s team will be wearing pink uniforms for cancer awareness in its game, which will follow the men’s game (1 p.m.) and the ceremony. The American Cancer Society will also have an information table stationed in the gym.