TERRE HAUTE —
Time to fix state’s hoops tourney
I am writing this letter because of my love of high school basketball and my desire to see it return to its place of prominence in Indiana. I retired from coaching in 2011 after 25 years as a head basketball coach. I am very fortunate to have participated as both a player and coach in the state championship game.
In 1996, the IHSAA, directed by its member schools, decided that basketball was no more important than baseball, volleyball or softball in our state. Instead of doing some homework and exploring every avenue, they took the easy road and grouped schools into four classes and said “we’re done.” Many longtime rivalries were gone in an instant. Fans that had followed high school basketball for decades now were faced with the task of unraveling the new formats for regional and semistate rounds. Many still don’t know how this currently works.
I spent 10 years coaching at 1A and 2A schools. At those schools you just hope for a fair opportunity to win a sectional. You just want a chance. Too many schools had almost zero chance. The small school got sent to the nearest big school with the largest gym which, by the way, gave the big school home court advantage. That could have been addressed with a little creativity. Instead, we got what we have now.
My plan would be to play class sectionals as we do now, however, seed and relocate teams so we don’t have two top-ranked teams meeting in the first round. Feed all winners into 16 regionals followed by four semi-states and one state finals. Schools of all sizes have a chance to advance and play each other. A committee of former and current coaches along with former players, etc., could iron out all of the details.
This is Indiana. Home of John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and yes, the 1954 Milan Indians. Basketball is our history, our fabric and an inseparable part of so many of us. Let’s take what we remember from our past and what we’ve learned from the past 15 years and create an even better tournament, a tournament with one state champion.
— Steve Goddard
Event for Riley a huge success
We would like to extend a great big thank you to all who donated, sponsored and worked to help out for our seventh annual Run For Riley Kids. It was a great success. Our group was asked to ride up front as VIPs in the Miracle Ride last weekend after we donated $3,722.
Again, thank you for all of your help.
— Judy England