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Wooden Court Ceremony Set For November 8 At Hulman Center
Courtesy:ISU Athletics
Courtesy: ISU Athletics
Coach John Wooden

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.   Fans planning on attending Indiana State’s men’s basketball exhibition game on November 8 at 7 p.m. against Albion will have the opportunity to take part in a very special ceremony.  Prior to the start of the game, the floor at Hulman Center will officially be named the Nellie and John Wooden Court in honor of the legendary coach and his late wife, Nellie.


The pre-game ceremony will start at approximately 6:45 p.m. with a taped message from coach Wooden being played on the Hulman Center video board.  Following comments from coach Wooden, members of his 1947 and 1948 teams will be on hand to reveal the new logos which will remain on the court permanently at the Hulman Center.


In addition to the day’s festivities, there will also be a week-long video series shown on WTWO in the Wabash Valley.  Sports director Jason Pensky sat down with coach Wooden at his home in California earlier this summer and talked about his early years as a coach and administrator in Terre Haute and also about his legendary career at UCLA.


Prior to achieving legendary success as the head coach at UCLA, Wooden began his collegiate coaching career and served two years as head men’s basketball coach, baseball coach and athletics director at Indiana State from 1946 to 1948. While earning his master’s degree at Indiana State, he compiled a 44-15 record as basketball coach while leading the Sycamores to post-season tournament appearances each year and two conference championships.


In 1947, Indiana State received an invitation to play in the NAIB Tournament in Kansas City, but Wooden refused the invitation citing the NAIB’s policy banning African-American players.  Clarence Walker, an African-American student-athlete from East Chicago, Ind., was a member of the squad.


In 1948, the NAIB changed the policy, and this time Wooden accepted the invitation to play in the tournament.  Walker, a reserve guard for Indiana State, became the first African-American to play in any postseason intercollegiate basketball tournament.  Indiana State went on lose to Louisville in the final.


The ISU women’s team will also be playing on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. and fans with stubs from that game will be given free admission to the men’s game as well.  However, men’s season tickets will take priority for the night game and fans from the women’s game will be allowed to sit in any open seats in the Hulman Center.

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