Photo: bradjward (flickr)
When the Butler Bulldogs took on Duke’s Blue Devils in the 2010 NCAA Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium, thousands of Butler fans watched from another Indianapolis landmark, just down the street. The crowd assembled in Hinkle Fieldhouse that evening was hoping for an upset right out the movie that put the fieldhouse on the map.
When it was built in 1928 for a million dollars, Butler University’s fieldhouse was the nation’s largest basketball arena. In addition to hosting the state’s high school basketball tournament and warehousing military equipment during World War 2, the fieldhouse was where Tony Hinkle coached Butler’s team for 40 years. The facility was renamed for Hinkle in 1966, and designated a US National Landmark in 1987.
The arena’s most legendary moment dates to the 1954 state high school tournament, when tiny Milan High School defeated powerhouse Muncie Central with a last second shot for the state championship. The so-called Milan Miracle provided the inspiration for the beloved 1986 movie Hoosiers, which revisited the historic location for the filming of the climactic game.
Hinkle Fieldhouse had the distinction of hosting the first ever USA-USSR basketball game. In 1987, it hosted the volleyball matches for the Pan American Games.
The NBA’s Indiana Pacers play at Conseco Fieldhouse, which was designed after Hinkle Fieldhouse.