College Basketball Road Trip: A sight of Hoosiers love up close

Indiana seniors Adam Nowak and Caitlyn Henshaw.

Matt Jones

If you are an Indiana fan, Wednesday’s 70-60 Senior Night loss to Nebraska was a fairly depressing affair. The Huskers led nearly the entire game, and the loss likely ended whatever small hope the Hoosiers might have had of making a late run to the NCAA Tournament. 

However, for the fans that stayed around for the traditional Senior Night festivities, they did get to witness at least one positive event from the evening. After all of the seniors had given their farewell speeches, many of the program’s managers, band members and cheerleaders walked onto the court to get pictures at their final home game. At that moment, Adam Nowak had a surprise.

Nowak, a former Indiana basketball student manager who graduated in 2013, got down on one knee in front of the assembled masses and asked his girlfriend, senior Caitlyn Henshaw, to marry him. It was a classic fairy-tale Americana story, as the school’s star athlete (or in this case, star manager) got engaged to the beautiful cheerleader during their farewell to the school.  Henshaw broke into tears when she saw the proposal, quickly said yes and applause filled Assembly Hall for the happiest moment of the night.

Adam Nowak proposes to girlfriend Caitlyn Henshaw at Senior Night

Nowak picked Senior Night because the two had met at Assembly Hall during Indiana’s "Return to Glory" 2012-13 season. "I didn’t think she would expect it then and her friends and family would all be around," said Nowak. "I thought it would be a perfect time to do it." 

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Nowak had planned to surprise Henshaw by having her pose for pictures with her family and then when she wasn’t paying attention, he would slip in for the big moment. But first he nearly blew it. As her parents took a picture, Henshaw asked Nowak why his heart was racing. "I told her don’t worry about it and then just got down on one knee and did it," Nowak said.

As the happy couple walked off the court, the fans left in the building cheered, Henshaw’s fellow cheerleaders cried and smiles filled Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers’ season has not been able to provide much in the way of optimism or excitement, but for one night at least it ended well, with a storybook ending that may be better suited for a Disney movie than a loss to Nebraska.