Bobby Plump, the real Jimmy Chitwood, enjoying his second moment in the spotlight

Butler, West Virginia, Michigan State and Duke advance to the Final Four.
By Mike Wise
Thursday, April 1, 2010

So itty-bitty Butler is playing in the Final Four this weekend, just a 15-minute drive from campus. And the country has been flooded -- flat-out, nauseatingly inundated -- with Indiana basketball nostalgia. And you're going to tell me with a straight face that the movie "Hoosiers" was an extremely dramatized account of a real high school basketball team and its star player in the 1950s?


You mean to say the coach wasn't a last-chance lifer with a shady past who looked like Gene Hackman?

No, sir. Marvin Wood was just 26 years old. He took over for Snort Grinstead, who was fired for ordering new uniforms against the superintendent's orders.

Did he at least court the hot teacher in homeroom by strolling beside cornfields?


Tell me they at least had an alcoholic assistant coach who ran the picket fence -- you know, Shooter, whose portrayal earned Dennis Hopper an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor?

Not true, either. The assistants were very good family men.

Did this Coach Wood at least sound like current Butler Coach Brad Stevens, who looks 33 going on 16, about as young as Ollie, the team manager-turned-player from "Hoosiers"?

No again.

Did he at least say "pop the ball" and preach four passes before each shot?

Hate to say it, but almost all of it is dramatized -- even the part where they say the coach had a player measure the rim and distance from the free throw line at Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler. Now there was a guy on the team who said, "Could put a lot of hay in this place, couldn't they?" and that broke the tension of playing in such a big building.

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