70th-anniversary celebration of Milan High School’s legendary 1954 Indiana Basketball State Championship

MILAN – A 70th-anniversary celebration of Milan High School’s legendary 1954 Indiana Basketball State Championship will be held on Saturday, March 23, in Milan.

Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. in the Milan High School gymnasium at 609 North Warpath Drive, in Milan, Admission is free and open to the public.

The celebration will include remarks from dignitaries and a panel discussion with the Milan players. Greg Rakestraw of the ISC Sports Network in Indianapolis and the 2023 “Indiana Sportscaster of the Year” will moderate the discussion.

Following the formal ceremony, the Milan players and actors from the movie Hoosiers will sign autographs, and food trucks will be on hand. Merchandise from the Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum will be available for purchase. The museum, located at 201 West Carr Street, will be open to the public before the ceremony from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. and after the ceremony from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Those attending must RSVP at this link.

On March 20, 1954, the Milan Indians became the smallest school in Indiana history to capture the state championship. With time running out, Milan guard Bobby Plump hit the game-winning shot to defeat powerhouse Muncie Central by 32-30. The following day, 40,000 people descended on Milan (population: 1,150) as the team returned home from Indianapolis, lining State Road 101 for thirteen miles to congratulate the Indians. In 2016, the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and Indiana Sports History Properties LLC unveiled the 25 most significant stories in Indiana’s sports history. The “Milan Miracle” ranked number one on the list. In 1986, Milan’s state championship run was portrayed in Hoosiers, which is regarded as one of the best sports films ever made.

“As someone born and raised in Milan, Indiana, I find it hard to believe that we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Milan Indians’ iconic victory in the 1954 Indiana State High School basketball championship game. We hope to have a tremendous crowd on hand to honor the team on March 23 in the Milan High School gymnasium. Featuring remarks from several dignitaries and interviews with players and actors from the movie Hoosiers, this day will also be historic for Milan.  We welcome all who have a love for the “Milan Miracle”, the movie Hoosiers, and Indiana basketball and look forward to seeing you on March 23,” said  Tom Kohlmeier, Board Chairman of the Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum.

“Indiana and basketball go hand-in-hand, and the sport is forever ingrained in our rich, historic, proud past. The Milan Miracle of 1954 was key in solidifying Indiana’s reputation as the state that grew the game. From Bobby Plump to Bobby Knight, Oscar Robertson to George McGinnis, Larry Bird to Reggie Miller, Indiana’s history is full of Hoosier legends. While many theories exist on what a Hoosier is, to me, the word Hoosier will always be tied to a deep love and respect for the game,” said Eric Holcomb, Governor of the State of Indiana

“Growing up, I can recall that each year, before the state tournament, our local newspaper would pull out the story of the mighty Milan Indians vanquishing the Muncie Central Bearcats. No doubt, our paper was not unique in this regard. Most other small or medium-sized towns were doing the same to inspire the local team that they, too, could pull off a miraculous tournament run. Of course, that game would become the core story representing the special relationship between the people of Indiana and basketball. As Milan’s mythic journey has inspired countless players and coaches in the past 70 years, it too inspired me 40 years ago to write the movie Hoosiers. I look forward to celebrating the 70th anniversary of the greatest game in Indiana high school history with the extraordinary team members,” said Angelo Pizzo, Screenwriter for the movie Hoosiers.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 70 years since we achieved our goal of winning the Indiana State High School Basketball Championship. My teammates and I are thrilled to reunite in Milan on March 23rd to relive so many great memories and celebrate with our family members, friends, dignitaries, and others who appreciate our story and the rich history of Indiana basketball. It’s most meaningful that the celebration will occur in Milan- it’s where our journey began and remains a place that we hold dear to our hearts,” said Bobby Plump, Guard on the 1954 Milan Indians team.

For more information on the Milan ’54 Hoosiers Museum, please visit the website at https://milan54.org/