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March 10, 2002

Don Odle, Founded Venture for Victory, Coached Taiwanese Olympic Team

March 8, 2002

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Don Odle, who coached Taylor University's basketball team for 32 years and was tapped to coach Taiwan's national team during the 1960 Olympics, has died following a long illness.

He was 81. The Muncie native and Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer died Thursday night at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

Odle coached basketball at high schools in Frankton and Aurora before taking the job at his alma mater, Taylor, in 1947.

He coached the Trojans to 468 victories before retiring in 1979. Odle also helped implement a football program at Taylor - a private, Christian school in Upland, Ind. In 1948, he served as the team's first coach.

As a pioneer in Christian sports evangelism, Odle founded Venture for Victory in the 1952. The program took all-star college basketball players on tours of countries, including Japan, Korea and Vietnam. His 12 Venture teams compiled a 600-12 record.

In 1960, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of Taiwanese nationalist leader Gen. Chiang Kai-shek, invited Odle to coach the island nation's basketball team at the games in Rome.