MONTICELO — A pair of coaches with Monticello connections are headed into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jerry Hoover and Bob Smock will become part of the 58th men’s induction class, according to officials with the Indiana Basketball HOF. They are two of 14 inductees who will enter the hall March 20, 2019, during the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 58th annual Men’s Awards Banquet.
They’ll be enshrined among the likes of Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Steve Alford, John Wooden, Glenn Robinson, Gregg Popovich, Scott Skiles, Bob Knight, Gene Keady and many others.
The day’s events will include a reception at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame museum in New Castle that afternoon, followed by a banquet that evening at the Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis.
Hoover, a 1952 graduate of Monticello High School, made his mark taking over struggling basketball programs and turning them into perennial winners. He did this at 10 Indiana high schools and two colleges — for both boys and girls hoops teams.
He’s currently in his second season as the head boy’s basketball coach at Blackford High School, in Hartford City, north of Muncie.
In three seasons before Hoover, 83, took over Blackford’s program — the 2014-15 to 2016-17 seasons — the Bruins piled up a 1-69 record.
Last year — Hoover’s first as coach — Blackford finished 14-9. Before last season, the Bruins’ last winning season was 2001-02 when they finished 14-9.
“No coach, I don’t care who he is, is a magician,” Hoover told the Monticello Herald Journal during a recent preseason scrimmage at Tri-County High School. “You have to have players. I’ve been fortunate to have had good players. It’s been a very nice thing for me.”
Hoover is getting a chance to coach three of his grandsons at Blackford. Grandson J.D. had his high school career come to an end last year, but grandsons Steffan, a sophomore, and Dayton, a freshman, are on the roster this year. The boys are the sons of Hoover’s son, Don Hoover.
“Big Hoov,” as he’s known in Indiana basketball circles, was a walk-on member of the Purdue University men’s basketball teams coached by Hall of Fame coaches Ward “Piggy” Lambert and Ray Eddy in the 1950s. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue.
Hoover’s coaching career has included stints at DeMotte, Salem, North Judson, Lake Central, Ben Davis — where he coached Hall of Fame inductee and current Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman — as well as the Monrovia and Kankakee Valley boys programs; the Andrean and Logansport girls — where he coached Indiana 2014 Miss Basketball and Parade All-American Whitney Jennings; and as an assistant coach at Indiana State University and St. Joseph’s College.
Logansport’s girls’ team won a regional title in 2014. It was the first regional championship in boys’ or girls’ basketball for Hoover, who was 79 that year.
The DeMotte High School team of 1964 won a sectional title with Hoover on the sidelines. Twenty-two years later, he returned to northern Jasper County and led the Kougars’ 1988 squad to a sectional championship.
In all, his head coaching record includes 416 wins, five sectional championships and one regional title. He has been an assistant coach for both the boys and girls Indiana All-Stars teams, IBCA District Coach of the Year, the longtime owner of the renowned “D-One” Basketball Camp and in 2013 took his Logansport team to China.
Hoover is the only varsity coach in Indiana high school basketball history to coach players who have been selected for both boys and girls Indiana All-Star teams.
Smock, who currently lives in Monticello, put up big scoring totals in high school and college.
A 1965 graduate of Hebron High School, Smock totaled 1,591 career points in three seasons, averaging 20.8 per game as a sophomore, 26.0 per game as a junior and 21.0 as a senior. He was also a three-time MVP of the Porter County Conference.
His career averages were 22.7 points and 15.2 rebounds per game, shooting 61 percent from the field.
At Indiana Central College under Hall of Fame coach Angus Nicoson, Smock totaled 1,203 points, 607 rebounds and 194 assists in 106 career games, among program leaders in each category.
A teacher, coach and counselor at North Newton, Twin Lakes, Tri-County, Frontier and McCutcheon high schools from 1969-2006, he coached Twin Lakes to the 1989 IHSAA softball state championship.
Other inductees include Ken Barlow (Cathedral High School), Orville Bose (Hymera), Bill Butcher (Loogootee), Ed Butler (South Bend Adams), Sam Chase (Knightstown), the late Dan Dimich (South Bend Washington), Mack Gadis (Pike), Chet Kammerer (Leesburg), Willie McCarter (Gary Roosevelt), Wayne Pack (Indianapolis Washington), John Grimes (Terre Haute Gerstmeyer), and the late Clyde “Cog” Grater (Lebanon).
Players become eligible for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame induction 26 years after he/she has played high school basketball. Coaches are eligible after accumulating 25 years of varsity experience or 10 years after retirement from high school coaching.