Encompassing success on the Indiana basketball landscape including high school state championship players and coaches, college national championship players, All-Americans, international professional careers and outstanding contributions to the sport and our state, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame proudly announces their 57th men’s induction class.
John Heaton coached Indiana high school teams to 418 wins in 33 seasons as a head coach, including a trip to the state finals. A 1958 graduate of Bloomfield High School, where he played under HOF coach Guy Glover, he attended Indiana University before a career in education. Leading Eastern Greene to a 1968 Wabash Valley Tournament runner-up finish in his first head coaching stint, he won an undefeated conference championship among two seasons at Southwestern (Shelby). In 11 seasons at Silver Creek, his teams won 154 games, four sectionals and five conference titles, before leading Shelbyville to 211 wins, 11 sectionals, five regional titles and a trip to the 1986 state finals as their coach from 1983-2000. A Past President of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, he was an assistant coach for the 1995 Indiana All-Star team. Employed in education for 42 years, he is retired and lives in Shelbyville.
Steve Brett recorded success as a longtime Indiana high school basketball coach following his playing days at one of the most storied programs in the state. Accumulating 467 career victories in a 37-season head coaching career, his teams won 11 sectionals, two regionals and made one state finals appearance. He was the head coach of Bloomfield High School from 1978 – 1993, where his teams won 223 games, eight sectionals and led their 1985-86 team to a 23-2 record and appearance in Indiana’s one-class “Sweet 16.” He coached Seymour from 1994-2001, then led his alma mater Loogootee to the 2005 1A runner-up finish and ended his career at Shakamak. He served as an Indiana All-Stars assistant coach in 2006. As a player, he was a two-year starter and captain under HOF coach Jack Butcher at Loogootee, a part of teams that were 38-7, including a 20-2 senior season. He was also a three-year regular at Indiana State University in their inaugural years in NCAA Division I competition from 1968-71. He resides in Linton and remains involved in the game as varsity assistant at Vincennes Lincoln High School.
Harold Cox was a record-setter at Kokomo High School before earning All-American and national championship credentials in college. The leading scorer in the esteemed North Central Conference his senior year at Kokomo despite playing with a broken wrist, he graduated as the Wildkats’ career scoring leader on teams that went 60-19 and won three regionals under HOF coach Joe Platt. Also setting the school single-game scoring record, he was named an alternate to the 1954 Indiana All-Star team. Playing for HOF coach Arad McCutcheon at Evansville College, he started 68 consecutive games and helped them to their first NCAA College Division National Championship as a senior co-captain in 1959 and 3rd place national finish as a junior. He was a varsity head coach for 17 seasons at Portage, Kokomo Haworth and Castle high schools, notably leading Haworth to a 58-15 record between 1969-72, winning two sectionals and a regional championship, as part of his 185 career wins. Retired, he lives in Fishers.
After playing under Hall of Fame coaches in high school and college, Marty Echelbarger became a HOF coach to the tune of 452 career wins at Indiana high schools. Playing under HOF inductees John Longfellow and Dwight Tallman at Muncie Central H.S., Echelbarger was a senior letter winner on the Bearcats’ 1963 29-1 state championship squad. He then played four years for HOF coach John Collier at Hanover College before launching into his own 35-year coaching career. In stints at Southwestern (Shelby), Owen Valley, Brebeuf Jesuit, Princeton, Frankfort and Heritage Hills, his teams won nine sectional championships, 14 conference titles, two Marion County titles, seven county and holiday tournament titles and recorded 20+ win seasons at four different schools. Earning Marion County Coach of the Year and IBCA District Coach of the Year honors, he coached four Indiana All-Stars in his career and was a 2004 Indiana Junior All-Star coach. Retired, he resides in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Rod Freeman propelled all-state honors in two sports at Anderson High School into being drafted in the NBA, ABA and NFL. A three-year starter for HOF coach Ray Estes at Anderson, he set single-game scoring (38) and rebounding (28) records en route to 1,260 career points and a school-best 886 rebounds for the Indians. Averaging 23.3 points per game as a senior, he garnered 1969 Indiana All-Star basketball honors and was named 1st team all-state in football and played in the football North-South Indiana All-Star game. A three-year starter at Vanderbilt University, he was selected all-SEC as a sophomore after averaging 15.7 points per game. He averaged over 20 points per game as a senior for the 11th ranked team in the nation, before a broken foot derailed the final season of his college career. Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1973 NBA Draft and the Memphis Tams in the 1973 ABA Draft, he was also selected by the New York Giants in the 1973 NFL Draft. He played one season with the 76ers before a career in business and government, serving as Brentwood (TN) City Commissioner, Vice Mayor and Planning Commissioner since 2011. He resides in Brentwood, Tennessee.
The induction of Bill Greve continues the recognition of small school success in Indiana high school basketball. He graduated not only as the career scoring leader at Waveland High School and in Montgomery County history, but his 1,777 career points placed him 5th in IHSAA history upon his graduation in 1955. He totaled 712 points his senior season, an average of 31 points per game, scored 608 as a junior for an average of 27 per game and had a single-game record of 46 points. He helped Waveland to sectional championships in 1952 and 1953, and coveted Montgomery County Tournament titles in 1953 and 1955. At Purdue University under HOF coach Ray Eddy, he led the Boilers in scoring as a sophomore with averages of 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and holds career averages of 11.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Per the program media guide, he is credited with the first documented double-double in Purdue history (12 points and 14 rebounds December 8, 1956 vs. Missouri), his first of 13 career double-double games. His professional career included 35 years with pharmaceutical firm Upjohn Company. Retired, he resides in Indianapolis. He becomes the 2nd Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductee to graduate from Waveland High School, joining his brother, Keith, a 2001 inductee.
Jimmie Howell has many notable accomplishments to attain Hall of Fame status. Entering the 2017-18 season with 582 career boys wins, he is the 4th winningest active Indiana boys high school coach and is 15th all-time in state history. After playing at Lapel High School, he was a three-year starter at Charleston Southern, graduating as the program’s leader in career assists (372). The varsity boys head coach at Mt. Vernon (Fortville) from 1981-1995, he led the Marauders to seven sectional titles and two regional championships, and from 1991-1995 concurrently served as Mt. Vernon’s varsity girls head coach, winning an additional 43 games. He led Muncie South to a sectional championship, then led Brownsburg from 1998-2004 before being hired at Lapel. His return to his alma mater has produced 220 wins in 13 seasons, including a 2005 1A championship and 2016 2A championship victory. He was an assistant coach for the 1991 Indiana All-Stars and since 2012 has held a seat on the IHSAA Board of Directors. He remains the athletic director and head boys basketball coach at Lapel High School and resides in Lapel. He joins four other men who are active Indiana high school boys coaches and HOF inductees – J.R. Holmes, Jack Keefer, Gene Miiller and Al Rhodes.
The late Larry Parks led rural Arlington High School to notable success and graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Rush County history. The leading scorer for three seasons at Arlington, he led them to three County Tournament championships, three sectional finals appearances and a 70-23 record in four seasons. Averaging over 19 points per game and double-figure rebounds in his junior and senior seasons, he totaled a Rush County record of 1,497 career points. Included in those performances, Arlington scored 47 points in one quarter versus Laurel H.S. his senior year, which remains a state record. A three-year letter winner at Eastern Kentucky University, he set the school single-season field goal percentage record (.502) and led them to an Ohio Valley Conference championship as a junior, averaged 13.5 points and 9.8 rebounds as a senior co-captain and earned 1962 1st team OVC all-conference honors. He was a teacher and coach at Knightstown High School from 1964-69, including serving as varsity boys head coach in 1968-69. He moved to Clearwater, Florida, where he was a volunteer coach for numerous years before his death in 2000.
Carl Short put up significant numbers in high school and college before a career as teacher and coach. A three-year starter at Manual High School under HOF coach Dick Cummins, he led them to a 15-7 record his senior year as the 3rd leading scorer in Indianapolis, averaging 20.6 points and 13.2 rebounds per game, earning all-city and all-state honors. His resume at Newberry College (SC) speaks for itself – a school-record 1,949 career points included a national-best 888 points his senior season; senior year averages of 28.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game and averages of 20 or more points per game each of his three seasons; a 23-7 record his senior year led Newberry to their first NAIA National Tournament appearance, earning him multiple All-American honors and the retirement of his jersey at Newberry. A 1961 Draft pick of the Cincinnati Royals, he served in the U.S. Army and was named to the All-Army Team that won the 1963 All-Services Championship. His career as a coach and biology teacher included assistant’s roles at Cascade and Northwest, head coach at Thorntown from 1966-69 and Whiteland from 1970-72 and 26 years as an employee of Indianapolis Public Schools. He resides in Indianapolis.
It would be hard to fathom an individual more inextricably linked to Gary schools and Gary athletics success and for a longer duration than Earl Smith, Jr. A 1952 graduate of Gary Roosevelt and 1957 graduate of the University of Iowa, his 56-year-career with Gary Schools included coaching duties at Lew Wallace, Froebel, Emerson, West Side and Tolleston high schools, finishing his career as the citywide athletic director. The first African-American head coach at Froebel, Emerson and Lew Wallace, over 26 seasons his teams won 323 games, five conference championships, three sectionals, and three regional championships, reaching the state tournament’s “Elite Eight” twice. His 1977 Gary Emerson team won the inaugural Hall of Fame Classic tournament and reached #1 in the state polls, his 1975 Emerson team broke the school’s 40 –year draught to reach a semi-state and his 1983 Lew Wallace team broke that school’s 35-year draught to reach a semi-state. A five-time conference coach of the year, he coached five players to earn All-American honors – Charles Hicks, Wallace Bryant, Frank Smith, Tellis Frank and Jerome Harmon. Also an accomplished athlete, he was a member of Roosevelt’s 1951 and 1952 track state champions, himself a two-time long jump state champ, setting the state record. At the University of Iowa, he was the 1954 Big 10 Conference indoor/outdoor long jump champion and earned all-Big 10 honors in football as the leading scorer in the conference as a running back. He resides in Gary.
John Wellemeyer earned success in southern Indiana with outstanding high school and college careers. A 1967 Indiana All-Star after leading Huntingburg High School in scoring and rebounding all four years, he scored a school-record 1,623 career points, set the school and Dubois County records for single-season points (526) and school and county single-game scoring records with 52 points. As a senior, he averaged 25.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and earned all-sectional honors four times in his career, along with SIAC all-conference honors. Under HOF coach Arad McCutcheon at Evansville College, he was a three-year starter, including on their 1971 NCAA College Division National Championship squad. He graduated among program leaders in career points (1,200) and career scoring average (14.6 points per game), single-season scoring and average (593 points, 20 points per game), field goals (263)and field goal percentage (.481). As a senior, he was named 1971 NCAA all-regional, 1st team Indiana Collegiate Conference all-conference and an Indiana College All-Star. Professionally, he rose through the ranks with Bristol Myers Squibb in a 33-year career. He resides in Evansville.
David “Poncho” Wright earned two-time all-state honors before winning an NCAA National Championship in his hometown. A 1978 Indiana All-Star, he totaled 1,487 career points and 953 rebounds at Indianapolis John Marshall High School under HOF inductee Roger Schroder, averaging 21.4 points as a junior and 24.3 points per game his senior year. In addition to being named to all-city honors three times, he was 3rd team all-state as a junior and 1st team all-state as a senior, also being named to the Derby Classic. At the University of Louisville, he was described by HOF coach Denny Crum as “instant offense” off the bench as the 6th man for the Cardinals’ 1980 NCAA National Championship team that won the title in Indianapolis’ Market Square Arena. The Cardinals again reached the 1982 NCAA Final Four with Wright as a key contributor. In all, he appeared in 99 games in his college career before being selected by the Kansas City Kings in the 1982 NBA Draft. He played professionally in Sweden and France for three seasons and also coached the Sweden Junior Women’s Development team. Now employed in security and personal protection, he resides in Pasadena, California.
The recipient of this year’s Indiana Pacers Silver Medal award, which includes Hall of Fame induction, is noted Indiana basketball coach and media personality, Bob Lovell. The Silver Medal - given to someone for outstanding contribution to Indiana high school basketball other than as an Indiana high school basketball player or coach - is presented to Lovell, the host of Network Indiana’s syndicated radio show “Indiana Sports Talk” since its inception in 1994. Affiliated on nearly 40 radio stations statewide each Friday and Saturday night, it has become the place to hear from coaches and media covering the Indiana high school basketball scene. Lovell has also been a focal part of television and radio coverage of IHSAA state finals, IHSAA state pairings broadcasts, the emcee of the annual Downtown Indianapolis Kiwanis State Finals Luncheon and numerous other functions, earning recognition as the Indiana Sportscaster of the Year, an inductee of the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, and recognitions from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, Indiana Football Coaches Association and Indiana High School Athletic Association. An all-conference player at Plainfield High School and four-year letterman at Franklin College, he was the head men’s basketball coach at Franklin College from 1977-1981 and held athletic director and head coach duties at IUPUI between 1982-1994, earning notable postseason success at both stops. A senior associate commissioner for Basketball Operations at the NCAA Division I Horizon League for seven years, since 2003 he has also been an instructor at IUPUI in History of Sport, Sports Ethics and Recreational Sports Programming courses. He resides in Franklin.
Gene Thomas receives the Centennial Award, created to recognize those who contributed to Indiana high school basketball long ago, which includes induction. A 1918 graduate of Fortville High School and 1923 graduate of Indiana University, he is the only four-sport letter winner in the history of IU and graduated with an unprecedented 10 varsity letters in basketball, football, baseball and track. Recognized for his career as a coach, he was head coach of Marion High School’s 1926 Indiana high school basketball state champion, leading Hall of Famers Charles “Stretch” Murphy, Robert Chapman and teammates to a title victory over Martinsville and young John Wooden. He then coached Kalamazoo Central High School to two Michigan basketball state championships in 1932 and 1939, becoming the only coach to win high school basketball state titles in Michigan and Indiana. He served as Principal of Kalamazoo Central from 1945-1965 and served terms as President of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals and President of the National Association of Secondary School Principals before his death in 1970.
The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 57th Annual Men’s Awards Banquet will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. The day’s events will include a reception at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame museum in New Castle that afternoon with a banquet that evening at the Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis.
Reservations are available online now or through mail order in early 2018. Call the Hall at 765-529-1891, visit www.hoopshall.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.