Thurmond arrived in Bowling Green in the fall of 1960 to play for legendary Falcons' coach Harold Anderson. In his freshman season, he made an immediate impact by scoring 17.8 points per game and adding a school-record 18.7 rebounds per game. His total of 449 rebounds remains the second-most ever in one season at BGSU.
During his final two seasons, Thurmond . . .
in school history. The team was ranked in the top-ten nationally and as high as seventh overall during the final 16 weeks of the season.
Bowling Green captured the MAC crown again in 1962-63 with a 19-8 record. On Feb. 16, 1963, the Falcons beat Loyola (Ill.) 92-75. The Ramblers were ranked second nationally at the time and won the NCAA Tournament in 1963. The Falcons also won their opening game of the NCAA Tournament, 77-72 over Notre Dame.
Thurmond exploded for 536 points (19.9 per game) in that final season to give him 1,356 points and a career average of 17.8. He ranks 18th and eighth, respectively, on the BGSU career lists for those categories. He pulled down a school-record 452 rebounds, including a school-record 31 in his final collegiate game against Mississippi State. His total career rebounds (1,295) and career rebounding average (17.0) are also both BGSU records.
Following that final season, Thurmond became the only consensus All-American in Bowling Green history and was named first-team All-American by the Sporting News. He was named first-team All-MAC and team MVP in each of his three seasons. His magical collegiate career earned Thurmond a spot in the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975.
Thurmond was drafted third overall by the NBA's San Francisco (now Golden State) Warriors in 1963. He played for the Warriors for 11 of his 14 professional seasons and helped the team earn playoff berths in seven of those 11 campaigns. He appeared in the NBA Finals in 1964 and 1967. In 1974, Thurmond was traded to the Chicago Bulls, who traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1975.
Thurmond led the Bulls and Cavaliers to the playoffs in each of his three seasons with those teams before retiring in 1977. His Bulls faced the Warriors in the 1975 Western Conference finals, and Chicago lost to the eventual NBA champions, four games to three.
Following his retirement, the Warriors and Cavaliers retired his #42, and he was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985.
One of Thurmond's greatest professional feats was becoming the first player to ever record an official quadruple-double. On Oct. 18, 1974, he compiled 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks against the Atlanta Hawks. It was his first game with
Chicago, and the Bulls won 120-115 in overtime.
Thurmond is one of four players to grab 40 rebounds in one game, one of five players to average 15.0 rebounds per game for his career, and one of five players to average 20.0 rebounds per game for a season. The only other three players to accomplish all three are Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Jerry Lucas.
As a seven-time All-Star, Thurmond played in 964 career games and scored 14,437 points to go with his 14,464 rebounds, an average of 15.0 per game in both areas. Thurmond was selected as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players in 1996 when the league celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding.
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics)