A unique connection between former BYU coach Steve Cleveland and Indiana star Paul George

Many college basketball fans will recognize the name of Steve Cleveland.

Cleveland coached at BYU from 1997-2005 and Fresno State from 2005-10. He compiled a record of 216-189 and guided the Cougars to three NCAA tournament berths. He resigned from Fresno State in 2011 and became a college basketball analyst for ESPN and BYUtv.

Steve Cleveland coached at BYU and Fresno State before being called as a Mormon mission president in Indiana.

Steve Cleveland coached at BYU and Fresno State before being called as a Mormon mission president in Indiana. (Deseret News Archive)

Earlier this year, Cleveland was called to be a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and supervise about 250 Mormon missionaries in the Indiana Indianapolis mission.

Interestingly enough, the 3-year assignment places the former coach near one of his former players, Paul George. Cleveland recruited George and coached him for two years at Fresno State. George is currently a star player for the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana Pacers  forward Paul George (24) played for Steve Cleveland at Fresno State for two years. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) played for Steve Cleveland at Fresno State for two years.
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Cleveland recently talked about missionary work and George in an Indystar.com article by Michael Pointer.

Cleveland said the mission call came as “a surprise,” but he and his wife felt it was the right thing to do.

Cleveland has fond memories of coaching George at Fresno State, the article said.

“He was very mature, very grounded and very humble,” Cleveland told Pointer. “He was a really good teammate. … I think he had dreams at that time he probably never shared with other people.”

The article said Cleveland and George haven’t spoken since his arrival in Indiana, but hope to connect soon. For the rest of the article, visit Indystar.com.

 

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