Longtime former Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball assistant coach Tom Linger will be honored by the university’s alumni association during Saturday’s (1/22) PUC-St. Xavier game.
Linger will receive the Purdue Alumni Calumet/Bob Hayes Athletic Alumni Award at halftime of the 3 p.m. contest, which follows the 1 p.m. Purdue Calumet-St. Xavier women’s game. A reception will be held between games for Linger and Purdue Calumet Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
The Purdue Alumni Calumet/Bob Hayes Athletic Alumni Award recognizes Purdue Calumet alumni who have distinguished themselves in athletics or other career fields.
Linger, who earned a master’s degree in education at Purdue Calumet in 1975, coached 18 years at Purdue Calumet—from 1980 through 1998—assisting Larry Liddle.
He joined the Purdue Calumet coaching staff after a successful boys’ basketball coaching stint at Lake Central High School, where he led the 1975-76 squad to a 20-0 regular season record and directed the 1978-79 team to the school’s second sectional championship. Upon his arrival at Purdue Calumet, he and former Athletic Director John Friend laid the groundwork for resuming intercollegiate men’s basketball at the Hammond campus in 1981 following several years of program inactivity.
When Liddle was appointed head coach in 1981, Linger served as his top assistant, a position he held until 1998. Twice, he was named Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Assistant Coach of the Year.
“I appreciate all my years at Purdue Cal,” Linger, a Gary native and Highland resident, said. “I really enjoyed the kids I coached; I was always amazed at the quality of players and young men who competed for us. I also enjoyed coaching with Larry and working with John all those years.”
Linger’s coaching career also included 15 years heading Lake Central’s girls softball program. In 1992, he was named Indiana Coach of the Year after leading his squad to a state championship. He was inducted into the Indiana High School Softball Hall of Fame in 2005.
During a 42-year career in public education, he also served as department chair of the Lake Central Counseling Department, athletic director at Highland High School and Counseling Department chair at York High School in Elmhurst, IL. He is retired.