For 25 years, Doug Mitchell’s North Central teams were consistently among the toughest in the state. He coached nine Indiana All-Stars, four Mr. Basketball winners and won a pair of Class 4A state championships.
Mitchell, who retired in 2018, is one of 17 members of the 2022 Men’s Induction Class for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, a group that will be honored on March 23. The Hall of Fame announced the induction class on Tuesday, a group that also includes Purdue coach Matt Painter, former Noblesville star Tony Etchison, former Muncie Central star Ray McCallum, former Broad Ripple coach Bill Smith Sr., and former Washington Continentals and Indiana State star John Sherman Williams.
For Mitchell, the Indiana basketball dream began as a young man growing up in rural Hamilton County. He attended Hamilton Heights, where he scored 1,167 career points and led the Huskies to a sectional championship in 1975, the first for the school in 35 years. He went on to play at Butler, where he was the Hilton U. Brown Mental Attitude winner as a senior in 1979.
“I am truly humbled to be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame,” Mitchell said. “Indiana basketball has forever been part of my life. So many great things have come to be in my life because of Indiana basketball. The lessons I’ve learned, relationships I’ve developed, lives I’ve been allowed to share in, have been so dear to me and I am truly thankful.”
North Central won 428 games during Mitchell’s tenure, which started in 1992. The Panthers won state titles in 1999 and 2010 and were state runner-up in 2007. He led the Panthers to four Marion County titles, coaching four IndyStar Mr. Basketball winners in Jason Gardner, A.J. Ratliff, Eric Gordon and Kris Wilkes, who were all recognized as McDonald’s All Americans.
“I am so thankful for all of my assistant coaches throughout my 25 years,” Mitchell said. “All of the managers in our programs over the years, all of the assistants I coached with before North Central, all of the coaches who mentored me and all my teammates over the years. I can not thank them enough. I am fortunate to have found a game that I am so passionate about. It makes time go faster while one is working at life. In the process I’ve developed life lifelong friendships and brotherhoods. I’ve been lucky enough to have coached so many incredible young men who have been great assets in our world today.”
Mitchell was back in North Central’s gym on Wednesday to watch one of his former players, Kevin Gant, coach his first game as Panthers’ coach.
“The greatest part of all was sharing it all with my family,” Mitchell said. “The coolest part was (wife) Debbie) and I basically raising our kids in the gym and along came the grandkids to become part of the fun, too. That was the best.”
The class will be honored on March 23 with a reception at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle in the afternoon and a banquet that evening at the Primo Banquet Hall on the south side. Call the Hall at 765-529-1891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Here is the rest of the 2022 men’s induction class:
The late Bass was the state’s leading scorer at Morristown in 1958 and was an Indiana All-Star. He set the Morristown scoring record with 1,652 points as he averaged 30.1 points per game. Bass totaled 632 points at Indiana under coach Branch McCracken, averaging 11.9 points per game as a senior at IU in 1961-62. He died in 2009.
He scored more than 1,110 career points at Rockport High School in Spencer County. He averaged more than 18 points a game as a senior for an 18-5 team. Boultinghouse played five sports at the University of Evansville, where he was the senior captain for the 1964 NCAA College Division national championship team. He went on to a coaching career, serving as athletic director and basketball coach at the University of Southern Indiana, assisting in the formation of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. He was also coach and athletic director at Kentucky Wesleyan, earning national coach of the year honors in 1992. Boultinghouse, who resides in Owensboro, Ky., completed his coaching career as the girls coach at South Spencer from 1996-2002.
Brandford was the starting center on the 1970 East Chicago Roosevelt state championship team that finished 28-0, the third consecutive undefeated regular season for the Rough Riders. He played at the University of Nevada, earning freshman All-American honors. He averaged 15.2 points and 10.8 rebounds before a suffered a torn Achilles tendon injury. Brandford completed his degree at Purdue Calumet before forging a career in finance. He was co-founder of Siebert, Brandford, Shank, Ind., the chairman of the largest minority-owned investment firm on Wall Street. Brandford was the lead investor for the Gary Steelheads of the CBA and served from 1998-2014 on the NCAA Corporate Advisory Board. He lives in Berkeley, Calif.
The 1959 graduate of Connersville High School was a three-year letterwinner at Purdue and late was on Purdue’s staff for the 1969 NCAA national championship game. Brown coached at Centerville, Lafayette Central Catholic and DeKalb, lead LCC to a 1973 sectional championship to end Lafayette Jeff’s 29-year streak of sectional titles. Brown coached at Ball State, leading the program to the 1986 NCAA tournament. He was an assistant at Ball State, Western Michigan, Minnesota and Tennessee. He was hired by Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt in 1995 and was on the bench for three national championships. He was also a women’s assistant at Wisconsin, South Carolina, Michigan State and Duke. Brown, who resides in Knoxville, Tenn., is the only coach to coach in both the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s national championship games.
Cone led the Alexandria boys basketball program from 1977 until his death in 2010. Cone won 419 games, including 16 Central Indiana Conference titles, five sectional crowns, three regional titles and the 1998 Class 2A state title. Three of his team’s sectional titles (1989, 1994 and 1995) came in the one-class tournament played at Anderson with small-school Alexandria knocking out the host each year. He was assistant coach for the 1995 Indiana All-Stars and served as president of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. He was a 1965 Pierceton graduate and 1969 graduate of Taylor University, playing under Hall of Fame coach Don Odle.
The 1963 Oakland City High School graduate and 1967 Oakland City College graduate spent 21 seasons as the coach at Salem and Southridge, spending 19 seasons at the latter. His 1985 and ’86 Southridge teams reached the state finals. The ’85 team was the only team in the history of the one-class tournament to reach the state finals with no seniors. His two-year stint at Salem included a 20-6 season with 1971 sectional and regional championships. In all, his teams won 303 games, eight sectional titles, three regional titles and two semistate championships. He resides in Huntingburg.
Etchison was a four-year started at Noblesville, where he scored 1,357 career points and led Noblesville to three consecutive sectional titles in 1989, ’90 and ’91. He was named the 1990 and 1991 Hamilton County player of the year, averaging 22.8 points per game as a senior. Etchison was a two-year starter at Mercer University, earning all-academic honors for four seasons and leading the TransAmerican Conference in 3-point shooting. He died in a farming accident in 2019 at the age of 47.
Flake earned all-state accolades and All-American honors in college. Flake scored more than 1,100 career points at Washington High School, averaging 21.5 points per game as a senior in 1964-65. He scored 2,058 career points at Southwestern Louisiana, earning 1967 NAIA All-American honors and Small College All-American honors in 1968 and 1969. He coached and taught at North Daviess and Hagerstown and in Louisiana and Illinois. He is a member of the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Southwestern Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame. He resides in Florida.
McCallum has one of the most decorated careers as a high school and college player in the state and as a coach. McCallum was a member of the 1978 Muncie Central state championship team and a starter on the 1979 state title team, named tournament MVP. He scored 2,109 points in his career at Ball State, resulting in school and Mid-American Conference records. He was the 1983 MAC player of the year, averaging 20.7 points per game as he was named the winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award for the best college player under 6-foot. His jersey No. 10 was retired by Ball State. He coached Ball State from 1993-2000, leading the Cardinals to two NCAA tournament appearances. McCallum also coached at Houston and Detroit. He is currently an assistant with Tulane.
Merrell, a 1964 Northwestern High School graduate, averaged 20.2 points as a senior on a 16-6 team. Merrell scored more than 1,000 points at the University of Findlay, where he was a 1996 inductee into the school’s athletic hall of fame. He coached 36 seasons in Indiana high school basketball at Carroll, Madison, Seymour, DeKalb, Heritage, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian and Fort Wayne Smith Academy. He won 482 games, 10 sectional championships, four regional titles and was a Class A runner-up in 2004 with Blackhawk Christian. He remains employed in education and resides in Fort Wayne.
Neal was a 1983 Indiana All-Star from Washington, scoring 1,440 points for the Hatchets during his career. He averaged 27.6 points as a senior, leading his team to a 25-2 record and the semistate finals. At Georgia Tech, he set school records with 127 games played and 570 career assists as part of three NCAA tournament teams. Neal set the single-season assist record with 303 as a senior. He played in the NBA with Portland, Miami and Denver and spent time in the CBA and WBL. Neal was a scout and assistant with the Toronto Raptors from 1994-2003 and was the coach at New Mexico from 2013-17. His currently an assistant at Nevada.
Painter is in his 17th season as the Purdue coach and has led the Boilermakers to three Big Ten Conference regular-season championships, five NCAA tournament Sweet 16 appearances and 12 NCAA appearances. He is the third winningest coach in Purdue history (entering the season) with a 355-184 record. Painter’s team is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, tying for the highest ranking in school history. He is a 1994 Purdue graduate and remains among the school leaders in assists. In his career at Delta High School, he set a school career scoring record with 1,497 points and career assist record. Painter averaged 27.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists as a senior leading Delta to a 21-4 record and sectional championship. He was a 1989 Indiana All-Star.
Smith coached Broad Ripple for 24 seasons, leading the Rockets to the state championship in 1980. He was the two-time Marion County coach of the year and the 1980 Indiana All-Star coach. His teams won 250 games and he coached five Indiana All-Stars, including future NBA players Mike Woodson and George Hill. Smith was the first Black coach to lead an integrated school to an Indiana high school basketball state championship. Following his tenure at Broad Ripple, he served as a consultant to John Calipari at Memphis and Kentucky and assistant Mike Woodson with the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks until his death in 2014.
The late Strickland was a star in the early years of the 20th century at Owensville High School in Posey County. His team reached the 1925 regional finals, losing to state runner-up Vincennes Lincoln. As a senior, he again led the Kickapoos to the sectional championship and lost again the regional to the state runner-up, Evansville Central, 23-22. He played at Indiana with Branch McCracken. The duo led the Hoosiers in scoring as sophomores in 1927-28. In 1929, he was named to the Indiana all-college team and was named third-team All-American. He was the captain and leading scorer of the New York Athletic Club of the AAU league for five seasons and played briefly alongside John Wooden with the Indianapolis Kautskys. Strickland died in 1997.
John Sherman Williams
Williams was an Indiana All-Star at Washington in 1982 as he averaged 27.3 points and 10.6 rebounds as a senior. He led the Continentals to a sectional championship as a sophomore in 1980 before losing to eventual state champion Broad Ripple. The Continentals reached the regional final in 1982 before losing to Cathedral. Williams went on to score 2,370 career points at Indiana State, leading the Sycamores in scoring all four seasons and earning All-American honors three times. He averaged 25.4 points as a senior and graduated second in scoring at Indiana State. He completed is college career third in scoring in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference behind Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird. He is employed at Heritage Christian and resides in Fishers.
Walker was the first Black player to participate in a national collegiate basketball tournament. The 1946 East Chicago Washington graduate was a member of the 24-3 regional championship team. He was recruited to Indiana State by John Wooden and was a member of the 1947 team invited to the NAIB national tournament. Indiana State declined the invitation on the basis that a Black player would not be eligible. A year later, the rule changed and Walker played on an Indiana State squad that finished as national runners-up in the 1948 NAIB tournament. As a senior, Walker was a starting guard as the Sycamores won the 1950 NAIB national championship. He won a Purple Heart for his service in the Korean War and was a teacher, counselor and administrator in Gary Schools for 35 years. He died in 1989 at the age of 60.
Baltz is the recipient of the 2022 Silver Medal Award for contributions to Indiana basketball other than as an Indiana highs school basketball player or Indiana high school coach. He officiated Indiana high school basketball for 43 years and as a sports official for 50 years. Baltz worked Indiana high school basketball games from 1971-2013 and was the recipient of the 2005 IHSAA and NFOA Basketball Official of the Year recognition. He worked three boys basketball state finals. Baltz also was an official for 15 seasons in men’s college basketball and 13 seasons of women’s college basketball. He was also a National Football League head linesman for 25 years and recipient of the 2021 NFLRA “Referee of the Year” award. He is a 1966 graduate of Lancaster (Ohio) High School and 1970 graduate of Ohio University. Baltz resides in Zionsville with his wife, Nicki.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame: 2022 induction class members