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Frankfort's Case Arena Gets More Historical Recognition


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Case Arena was the site of another historical first in Frankfort Wednesday afternoon.

The arena, which opened in November of 1963 and renovated in 2016, is now the home of the first Indiana Historical Bureau marker in Clinton County following a dedication in front of the landmark.

“This is really important for our school corporation as well as the entire community because it just restates what most of us around here know is that Frankfort is a great city with great people,” said Community Schools of Frankfort Superintendent Joel McKinney.

Five people spoke at the dedication. Besides McKinney, others included Frankfort High School Principal Cindy Long, FHS Athletic Director Ed Niehaus, FHS and Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Coach John Milholland and Casey Pfeiffer of the Indiana Historical Bureau.

“Usually, the whole process takes about a year,” said Pfeiffer. “This one was a little longer for a number of reasons. But, we are so thrilled that it is up here today.”

Pfeiffer added this is one of nearly 700 such installations around the state.

Niehaus said it was former Superintendent Don DeWeese, former high school principal Steve Edwards and himself who first met with the Historical Bureau back in the spring of 2016. Niehaus added Case was not only a fantastic, successful high school and collegiate coach, but he was also a pioneer, innovator and showman for the sport of basketball.

Niehaus said as a pioneer, Case organized the first Indiana All-Star team to play against his state championship team. This would evolve into the Indiana/Kentucky All-Star Classic we have today. This happened after Case won his fourth state title in 1939.

As an innovator, Case was the first coach to use the full court press. He is responsible for the 10-second back court violation because of his tactics for stalling and using the entire court to do so. At the same time, Case took his fast break basketball style to North Carolina State.

As a showman, he was the first coach to have music played at home games, he put numbers on uniforms, began the introduction of starting line ups and was the first to cut down nets following tournament games. He marketed and sold his program to the general public.

Niehaus added that two things above all else stood out. The Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player trophy is named after Case because he truly started the Atlantic Coast Conference. And, when he passed away in 1966, having never married, his estate was split among all of his players at North Carolina State, and a memorial senior award is in his name at Frankfort High School.

“It (Case Arena) is a sports destination that people know from all around the country,” said McKinney. “They don’t just talk about being in the gym. They talk about being in Case Arena.”

Truly one of Indiana's basketball palaces.


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