Possessed with an incredible natural athletic ability, Norman Van Lier ruled the hardwood and gridiron at his Midland Lincoln High School alma mater before going on to claim basketball success at the college and professional levels.
Regionally, the name Van Lier calls to mind the famed 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team that went undefeated and captured the state championship. The team, coached by Hank Kuzma, was led by the 6-foot-1 playmaker Norm Van Lier and his fellow senior, Simmie Hall. During his high school career, Norm also was an AP and UPI all-state choice in basketball and an all-star quarterback for the Leopard's football squad.
His success continued at St. Francis College in Loretto, Pa. There, in his final two years, Norm led his team in scoring, averaging 18.8 as a junior and 21.0 as a senior. A two-time honorable mention by The Sporting News, he left the college as the school's All-Time Assist Leader, also earning his bachelor of arts degree in history and special education.
Norm was a third-round choice by the Chicago Bulls in the 1969 NBA draft, but was traded to the Cincinnati Royals before his rookie season began. He led the NBA in assists as a rookie and made the NBA All-Star Defensive Team his second year. "Stormin' Norman" was then traded back to the Bulls, and the team was an NBA power through much of the seventies. The four-time NBA All-Star was frequently cited for the get-the-job-done attitude he brought to the game.
Today, Norm Van Lier is in his eighth season as an in-studio analyst for Fox Sports Chicago, where he hosts the pre-game, half-time and post-game analysis of Chicago Bulls basketball games. He also appears on "Sports Sunday" on Chicago NBC-TV affiliate WMAQ Channel 5. He also is co-host of the popular daily drive-time sports talk show "The Bull and The Bear" on WSCR-AM 1160 "The Score" with longtime friend and Bears star Doug Buffone.
Additionally, he appears at engagements throughout the country as a motivational speaker. He also provides skilled instruction to students in summer camps and to children with learning disabilities. In the early nineties, Norm was a member of Project Teamwork, a major national initiative sponsored by the Reebok Foundation and implemented by a multi-cultural team of former professional athletes whose objective is to improve racial, ethnic and human rights sensitivity among the school-age population.
A son of Helen Van Lier of Midland and the late Norman Van Lier, Norm lives in Chicago and Los Angeles with his wife. They have two daughters, Heidi and Hilary.