Hoosier Scoop Sage Take of the Day, Nov. 13, 2012


The great Bill Garrett died of a heart condition, far too young at age 45, the very month I matriculated at Indiana University-Bloomington in August of 1974. Seems so long ago. And is.

That came to mind as I watched IU honor Garrett with a halftime ceremony Monday night at Assembly Hall.

The ceremony was all well and good, as far as it went. Members of the Garrett family were presented a framed Indiana jersey bearing Garrett’s No. 8 and a commemorative poster and drew a nice standing ovation from the crowd.

But for the man who broke the Big Ten color barrier for basketball in 1947, the same year Jackie Robinson did the same for Major League Baseball? Not enough. Too little. Far too late.

Garrett, the state’s Mr. Basketball from Shelbyville, set an exemplary example on and off the court while braving everything that came from being that sort of pioneer.

It’s an example that calls for permanent, prominent enshrinement on campus.

This perhaps isn’t the time or place to rehash in detail the embarrassing mess the university made four years ago with a miscalculated, misbegotten notion to affix Garrett’s name alongside that of Ora L. Wildermuth as the formal title for the structure long called the HPER building.

Wildermuth, who died in 1964, was a lawyer, a judge and a former president of IU’s board of trustees. He also happened to be a racist and unrepentant segregationist, as letters uncovered after his death that were written to IU colleagues clearly revealed.

Here’s a little tidbit from one of Wildermuth’s letters: “I am and shall always remain absolutely and utterly opposed to the social intermingling of the colored race with the white. I belong to the white race and shall remain loyal to it. It always has been the dominant and leading race.”

It’s little wonder that Garrett’s immediate family wanted nothing to do with the idea of combining the Garrett name with Wildermuth’s.

IU and its athletic department can take pride in the fact they desegregated their teams before many other like institutions, in part due to the enlightened leadership of then-university president Herman B Wells. Coach Bo McMillin, though a southerner, recruited black football players at IU soon after he arrived in Bloomington in 1934. And Garrett arriving to play for Branch McCracken a little over a decade later broke what had been a shameful “gentlemen’s agreement” between Big Ten basketball coaches.

Garrett was a superb player. He led IU in scoring and rebounding for three straight seasons, and the Hoosiers went 19-3 his senior year, when he was a consensus second team All-American. His teammates voted him MVP. He was the third black player ever drafted into the NBA. And he was, by all accounts, an even better person than he was a player.

So it’s time for IU to honor Garrett in some more significant and permanent way than Monday’s ceremony could conjure.

Forget the HPER building (other than stripping the Wildermuth name off it, which seems an appropriate gesture). What about that nicer, newer establishment over on Law Lane bearing the generic and ungainly moniker: “Student Recreational Sports Center.”

The William L. Garrett Sports Center has a nice ring to it.

Do it, IU. Now. Right thing to do. Well past time.

Share the Scoop!


  • Pete says:

    Great thoughts Andy. Thanks for the backstory on the attempt to affix his name to the Wildermuth facility.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    …or the Garrett family could have demonstrated just how far above the fray they really are with breaking down yet another barrier toward progress by allowing BG’s name to also be affixed to the HPER…
    Another view from a different direction.

  • Chet says:

    I understand what you’re getting at but I just don’t know…

    The ‘Martin Luther King/Lester Maddox Memorial Library’.

    I just don’t see it. It bestows too much honor on the racist half.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    …and you know what I am getting at…(?)…Really!

    If that is the case I should quit ordering my coffee black.

  • Geoff says:

    HC, I don’t think he was saying that in an accusatory manner… I think he was actually saying he understands your point, but disagrees…

    I like the “exemplary example” quote, reminds me of the “grounded to the GROUND!?” commercial…

  • kurk81 says:

    Keep in mind that our ex-coach has let it be known that we can name Assembly Hall in his honor if we kiss his a** one more time then be happy when he ignores the honor. Garrett Hall. Just sayin.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    Chet, Geoff I did not take it as accusatory. If I had my reply would have been more aggressive. The 1st line in #3 is easily understood. My stance is this; if people who look different are to be born in the same hospital, live in homes side by side, go to the same schools, churches, retail venues, build relationships together, etc., then there is no reason for those 2 names to not be together on the HPER building(library, bridge, highway). Do something that will bury the damn hatchet cause what is being done currently and in the recent past “ain’t gettin it”. Hell I did not know Wildermuth’s history(as is so for probably 99.3% of everyone else on here)and I don’t care about it. Roses and thorns, enjoy one and deal with the other or die with a grudge.

  • Geoff says:

    Good stuff Clarion. Sorry, I deal with Harv and his reading between the lines and conspiracy theories so much that thought you were heading down the path of looking to hard at a comment… Totally my bad.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    Geoff, no harm, I am fine with it. I am just a racist trying to look at that whole picture, clearly. Most people treat it like trying to eat an elephant, they walk around and around it trying to figure out where to take the 1st bite. Get to the task at hand.

    BB season is here. I know Chet, myself and a couple of others enjoy your game/player analysis. Bring it.

  • Chet says:

    Nothing impled, HC. Just what I said, I understand why the family isn’t too into it.

  • Chet says:

    kirk81, great idea. If we named it after RMK, half (or more) IU fans would hate it, he would give IU the finger and not show up which would be awkward and embarrassing, and whenever it was mentioned there would be as many detractors as supporters.

    If we named it after Garrett it would cover both Garrett and IU in glory.

  • Chet says:

    Just think how bad UK looks for naming their arena after an unrepentant racist (and I’m not saying RMK was a racist, just that he had issues).

  • Chet says:

    Geoff, what HC said.

    For some reason, along my collegiate travails I picked up a minor in film study. While it’s useless, I do enjoy films more now that I know more about them.

    Same goes for Geoff’s analysis. While his detractors certainly may have fair and reasonable differing views on tactics, personnel, etc., I find the people who dismiss him as a know nothing to be laughable. He’s watching things I rarely think of (5 times).

    The guy knows basketball.

  • Geoff says:

    Thanks guys…

    I am hoping that the BTN has a replay of the IU game scheduled, because it was pretty tough to watch on btn.com last night. I do have the Bryant game dvr’d and need to watch it again for some analysis (as you may remember, I always watch live as a fan, and then watch the tape to analyze).

    Some of the things I’ll be looking for, so as not to repeat too much from last season, are:
    – individual improvements (or regressions)
    – how certain player combinations work
    – freshman
    – any new schemes or philosophies

  • Chicago Hoosier says:

    Game on BTN this afternoon at 5pm in Chicago.

    Defense wins championships, I am not seeing shut down D yet.

    Great story on Garrett, I am proud of IU’s ability to lead the way.

  • Geoff says:

    Chicago Hoosier – thanks, jst set the dvr remotely. (love that feature)

    I don’t know the efficiency numbers yet, but I’m not sure you assessment is fair. IU plays at a very fast pace and has held their 2 opponents to 54 and 61 points.

    Bryant shot 32% FG and only 14% from 3… IU turned them over 17 times and pulled down 76% of their defensive rebounding opportunities (35 of 46)… IU also did it without fouling – 16 fouls leading to 17 FTs

    NDST shot only 41% FG, turned it over 16 times, and IU won 80% of their defensive rebounding opportunities (27 of 34)… Again IU pressured without fouling – 15 fouls leading to only 9 FTs…

    IU has also done that with 3 interior defenders sitting on the bench, 2 of which give serious rim protection when in the game. That and Zeller was sick last night and couldn’t expend a ton of energy on D, so we essentially had 0 effective interior defenders.

    What would you consider shut down D… In 25-45 point blowouts?

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    If issues are the benchmark for not putting a persons name on something then we’ve screwed up every time we’ve celebrated dedicating something for namesake. Perfection escapes us all and the goal is simply harmony. Respectfully, the Garrett family did not understand the depth of the opportunity.

    Indeed when it came to race RMK was color blind. As to IU fans, alumni and residents of Indiana there are far more pro than con about Bob Knight.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    And Geoff, thereby lies the reason why I have a hard time believing you engage your brain half the time (which is way preferable to believing you don’t have one).

    HC point has depth to it. He is not reacting nor spouting the latest ultra-liberal left revision. He is giving due to a deep and complex subject that is not explained nor understood by a quick look at numbers. It takes thought and then…deeper thought. In this case, HC displays wisdom which is a filter we should all attempt to develop.

    Try it… sometimes Geoff, ‘my bad’ doesn’t cut it. My dad used to tell me “my bad, my ass…you’ll do it again tomorrow!” (just before the flying saucer of his cupped hand slid across the now bald spot on the top-back of my head).

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Geoff…and don’t use Harvard as an excuse. Harvard is absolutely a good guy. Sometimes involved with himself (way too hard on himself), sometimes he even provokes himself but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen four words of malice in Harvard (except in the long war with Laffy, and hopefully they have both declared a sustainable truce). If anything, HfH over reacts to the disappointment that people use each other to work out their own frustrations (that probably includes me sometimes)…but there’s no malice and that my friend merits respect (he’s got mine, I believe he has Chet’s and others) not derision.

    Why would you use Harvard to explain your screw up (#8)? You just screwed up. Sometimes you tend to try to ingratiate yourself at the expense of someone else. You do have valuable things to contribute, stay on those.

    Hope you can…it will be a challenge.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Great thoughts on Bill Garrett. (Little growl coming out of my throat, remember Mr. Garrett when he was coaching Indianapolis Crispus Attucks).

    We’ve been privileged at Indiana to have had the essence of dignity taught to us by example through two incredible individuals, George Taliaferro and Bill Garret. Our athletic complex sits concentrated in one area and forms its own small campus. Perhaps naming the entire area the Taliaferro-Garrett Athletic Campus (with proper signage and monuments) would recognize the enormous contribution of these two fine men and our love for them.

    IU Board, please do your best to make this happen soon.

    Andy…indeed the Sage!

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Geoff, Chicago Hoosier has a point. We (IU) have a real issue on defense. That is not new, it is old news. This is a high scoring team, a very talented team but Chocago Hoosiers point (which agrees with mine) is that we don’t do nearly enough to deny access inside or…even worse…shut off the kinds of looks that allow teams to score from outside, or to deny them the passes or the space to dribble inside the 3-point line.

    It’s one thing to say we want to defend with lots of intensity; another completely different to say ‘with intensity and intelligently. In other words, if he opponent is seeking the top three of six options, we are not forcing them to have to rely on number 5 or 6. In my view, that was way too clear last night.

    Your last line on #16 “…what to expect (of opponent)…25-45 points..” is not the point. We ought not to play against an opponent, we play against the game.

  • Geoff says:

    Tsao – nothing I said was aggregious. I simply misread intent of a post which can be easy to do when you can’t hear inflection or see an expression… It didn’t even really need an apology. If I did it again it wouldn’t be a big deal.

    I didn’t question the depth of HC’s original point, and the sentence I misunderstood had zero depth to it… It was a retort.

    I also think Harv is a good guy, and I’m not accusing him of malice. However, Harvard’s shtick is accusing others of implying certain things with their rather innocuous statements, or believing their is some other intent in innocent comments.

    Typical Tsao… Telling others how to act, while doing exactly the thing he is preaching against. In this case misunderstanding a post.

  • stationary front says:

    egregious spelling, geoff

  • Geoff says:

    Ok, but this year’s team is different than last year’s team. And further, the current roster is different from one we’ll see in a month.

    It’s easy to make statements that IU struggles to get stops, but where is the evidence. If you want to bring up last year as evidence, well then no one cares. So far this year we have defensively dominated one team and did a pretty good job on the other.

    All we can go on is how the current roster is performing defensively, and right now everything points to it performing very well.

  • Lafy says:

    Insults are ok when TT says them.


Comments are closed.


Hoosier Sports Report is live!

Scoop Poll:

How many games will IU football win in 2016?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
  • Steve W.:

    Another interesting tidbit on Amber Deane is that she helped her Dayto [...]

  • Ron:

    Heck of a showing for IU. Per Indy Star, "Hoosiers would have ranked [...]

  • Rico Chet:

    Yes sir. [...]

  • t:

    One thing that has most notably improved as KW stated he wanted to do [...]

  • t:

    I agree with you. I was making an observation so many many many seaso [...]

  • vesuvius13:

    t, this is the time of the season for all fans to dream of how good t [...]

  • Jeremy Price:

    Rico and Harvard, I have no patience. Go bicker somewhere else. The ba [...]

Find Notre Dame football coverage on NDInsider.com. © Hoosier Times Inc., all rights reserved.