Hoosier Gym Celebrates 100th year and 35 years of the movie Hoosiers...

Hoosier Gym Celebrates 100th year and 35 years of the movie Hoosiers with cast signing and Huskers Jersey Retirement

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The Hickory Huskers hung up their jerseys on Saturday in front of friends and fans in Knightstown, Indiana. 

Five of the seven living players of the fictional high school basketball team from Hickory, Indiana gathered Saturday at the Knightstown gym to reminisce with screenwriters Angel Pizzo and the 200 plus fans that gathered there. 

The retirement of the jerseys was meant to honor the 100th anniversary of the Hoosier Gym, where scenes of Hoosiers was filmed in 1985, and to honor the 35th anniversary of the film.

Among those in attendance were Maris Valainis (Jimmy Chitwood), Brad Long (Buddy Walker), Dr. Steve Hollar (Rade Butcher), Brad Boyle (Whit Butcher) and Wade Schenck (Ollie McLellan). 

Kent Poole, who played Merle Webb, passed away in 2003 and his jersey was honored at the gym previously. 

Roger Poole, who played the young boy shooting baskets at the end of the film, was also there along with extras and a man who served as a referee in the film. 

However, one of the stars of the film is celebrating its 100th anniversary — the Hoosier Gym. 

The Knightstown, Indiana facility was built in 1921 and served the community for 45 years as a place for kids to play basketball as well as a spot for civic events. 

It had little use when a new high school gym was built nearby, and closed in 1966. 

That all changed in the fall of 1985, when the gym served as the home court set the filmmakers used for Hoosiers. 

The film’s success and long-lasting appeal saved the gym from the wrecking ball, and the Hoosier Gym now serves as a museum of the movie and all things Indiana basketball, as well as a site hosting over 80 games a year. 

The pandemic has cut down on the 60,000 visitors who descend to Knightstown annually to live out their own hoop dreams, but they have been surviving thanks to volunteers, donations and merchandise sales.