Mat Mikesell

Growing up, Ball State associate head coach Todd Steelman had two hobbies: basketball and music.

Steelman grew up listening to artists such as Michael W. Smith, James Taylor and Elton John. He also grew up playing basketball all the way through college.

Besides listening to his favorite artists, he also developed his own singing talent.

"I've been singing forever," Steelman said. "When I was playing ball in high school, I was still doing the choir and singing in church. I've been doing it for a long time, since I was a kid."

He wasn't the only one in his family with a singing talent.

His father was part of a barbershop quartet when Steelman was younger and his mother also sang.

"Everyone in the family sings," he said.

Steelman said he has always wanted to learn how to play an instrument to go along with his singing.

Even though Steelman doesn't intend on pursuing to become the next big name in the music industry, he said had things been different growing up he might have tried to.

"I've gone through that," Steelman said. "If there would have been the ‘American Idol' back in the day, I'm sure I would have tried out. I always thought it would have been cool to do a recording, get some music together and do a demo."

Steelman didn't get to Ball State because of his singing. His affinity for basketball is what brought him to Muncie.

Steelman played basketball at North Texas before ending up at North Carolina for graduate school.

When he arrived, he went to women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell looking for a way to get involved.

"When I moved out to North Carolina for grad school, I knew I wanted to be involved in sports," Steelman said. "I didn't know I would be coaching."

Steelman became a volunteer for the women's basketball team at North Carolina. He was part of the scout team that won the 1994 national championship.

After his first coaching job as a middle school coach, Steelman worked his way up to being an assistant at Clemson.

He said being at Clemson made singing difficult.

"It was more difficult at Clemson, because we played on Sundays," Steelman said. "I wasn't able to get to church much, so it was mostly national anthems and a lot of weddings."

When he arrived at Ball State, Steelman unexpectedly was found himself singing the national anthem during the team's trip to Cancun, Mexico, earlier this season.

"We were in Cancun and the iPod they were using for the national anthem there got stolen," Steelman said. "So I wasn't scared to do it. It was fun."

In Ball State's game against Ohio on Feb. 2, he found himself singing the national anthem again.

A men's quartet was scheduled to sing before the game, but the ice storm didn't allow for the group to make it.

Steelman said players on the team want him to sing on Senior Night against Northern Illinois on March 2 also.

Coach Kelly Packard said she believes Steelman's talent helps bring the team together.

"It's a huge gift and he uses it in lighter moments," Packard said. "He takes the mic on the bus and has fun with the singing. It's good for the players to see coaches have other things in their lives that interest us."

Though he plans on continuing his career as a basketball coach, Steelman said he will always love singing.

"I'm fine with doing it whenever," Steelman said. "I'm a coach. I don't want to be the singer that coaches, I want to be the coach that sings."

"I don't want to quit," he added. "I love it too much."