|1954 championship basketball players to gather in Milan|
More than a dozen of those tied to the 1954 Milan Indians basketball team that won Indiana’s State Basketball Championship plan to be in Milan Saturday, June 2 to sign autographs, field questions from the audience, and meet fans at a wine tasting event. Maris Valainis, who played Jimmy Chitwood in the movie “Hoosiers” is also scheduled to attend. The movie was written by Hoosier Angelo Pizzo after being inspired by the 1954 team, and first hit the screen in 1986.
Those planning on attending include players Glen Butte, Ray Craft, Rollin Cutter, Bob Engel, Bob Plump, Roger Schroder, Ken Wendelman, and Gene White. Assistant Coach Clarence Kelly, Cheerleader Pat Marshall, and Timer Barter Dobson also plan on being available for autographs and photographs. Others connected may also make an appearance.
The Milan ’54 Hoosiers events will begin with the Milan Museum opening at 10am, where visitors can see memorabilia from the game and other items from the 1950s. The Museum, located at 203 Carr Street, Milan, will remain open until 6pm for visitors.
The Milan School Athletic Department will run a Youth 3 Point Shooting Contest in the Milan High School gymnasium for all kindergarten through high school students who wish to compete for bragging rights. The school is located at 609 N. Warpath Drive (S.R. 101), Milan, and activities will begin at noon at no cost.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will bring the “Hoosiers” movie to new life at 2pm in the school gymnasium with their all-new Blu-ray on a large screen purchased, in part, by Fox for the school. Fox also purchased a Blu-ray player for the school. All are encouraged to gather to watch the movie and cheer on the team for free.
Following the movie, the 1954 team and Valainis will answer questions from the public in the gym. Forms will be available for movie-goers to write their questions before the film starts.
Autograph/photo opportunities will be available with the team and others from 4:15 to 5:15pm. The cost is $10/person, with funds going to the Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum. Items will be available to have signed. Gayle Johnson, author of the book “The Making Of Hoosiers” will also be on hand to autograph her book, and will be donating some of the proceeds to the museum.
A special Meet the ’54 Team and Others Wine Tasting will be held at the future Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum, 201 Carr Street in Milan. Sponsored by Ertel Cellars Winery of Batesville, only 50 tickets will be sold, at $25/person. Proceeds will be used to help the museum renovations. Most of the 1954 players who attend earlier in the day will be there, as well as Valainis and possibly some others tied to the movie. Tickets may be purchased from the Ripley County Tourism Bureau at 812-689-7431 or visiting the office at 220 East U.S. 50, Versailles, Indiana. Some tickets may be available June 2 at the high school.
More information is available at www.ripleycountytourism.com.
“Hoosiers”, directed by David Anspaugh, is one of the most legendary sports movies of all time. The movie is being released in an all-new Blu-ray to celebrate its 25th anniversary from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on June 5, 2012.
Based on the true story of the Milan High School basketball team, “Hoosiers” boasts an all-star cast that includes the likes of Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, and Academy Award® nominee Dennis Hopper. The film was recently hailed as the #1 sports movie of all time by The Los Angeles Times, as determined by nearly 1,400 of its readers who participated in a user poll.
“HOOSIERS” has received abundant accolades, and can be found on the top film lists of over 100 movie critics. It has been highly ranked on movie lists created by AFI, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated, and was also chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”.
About The Milan ’54
Before Indiana adopted the high school class basketball tournament system, teams from all sizes of schools competed against each other for that one coveted title--Indiana State Basketball Champions. In 1954 the reign of the large Indiana high schools ended when a team from Milan High School (with an enrollment of just 161) defeated the Muncie Central team (with an enrollment of 1,662). A shot taken in the last moments brought the score to Milan 32-Muncie 30. Basketball enthusiasts from all over the United States cheered for the Milan Indians Basketball Team and sent messages of congratulations. Thousands of fans gathered in the small town of Milan to watch as a huge parade brought the team back to town. In 1986 the small town’s great accomplishment was made into the movie “Hoosiers” and the fan-base for the Milan Indian Team grew even more. Today people come from all over the United States and many countries of the world to see the 1954 museum and re-live the “David ad Goliath” event at the Milan ‘54 Museum in downtown Milan. The museum is now located in the former Nichols Barbershop, and is packed with items from the 1954 Indiana State Basketball Championship, as well as the 1986 movie Hoosiers. Fundraising and renovations have begun to develop the old Milan State Bank building into the new Milan ’54 Hoosiers MuseumFor more information, visit www.milan54.org.