When Central first-year athletic director Chip Mehaffey steps foot into the Muncie Fieldhouse and stares up at the record eight boys basketball state championship banners on one side and then six volleyball state title banners on the other, he feels a bit in awe.
“Growing up in Indiana and knowing so much about the history and tradition, Muncie Central was just one of those places you revere,” Mehaffey said. “The chance to be part of it now is very special.”
Four of the teams that contributed to those 14 banners hanging from the Muncie Fieldhouse rafters will be honored over the course of the next five weeks for their 60th, 50th, 25th and 10th anniversaries.
“Tom always did a great job honoring teams on anniversary dates,” Mehaffey said of Central principal and former athletic director Tom Jarvis. “… As we looked over the teams that won, we saw four anniversaries this year. We wanted to continue that, and it makes the (boys basketball) games more exciting.”
First up will be the 1952 boys basketball state champions. Central will honor the team at halftime of its game Saturday against Delta. Those Bearcats were coached by Jay McCreary and beat Indianapolis Technical 68-49 in the title game.
Mehaffey said seven of the players from that team still live in Delaware County, so he is expecting a sizable contingent to be there Saturday.
The Bearcats will recognize their 2002 state championship volleyball team on Dec. 22 when their boys basketball team plays host to Fort Wayne Canterbury. The 2002 state champions were the last Central team coached by Dave Shondell before Purdue hired him as its head coach.
The 1988 Central boys basketball state championship team will be honored for its 25th anniversary on Jan. 5 when the Bearcats play host to Hamilton Southeastern. The 1988 Bearcats won the eighth and up to this point last boys basketball state title for the school.
Central will honor its 1963 boys basketball state title the following Saturday, Jan. 12. The Bearcats play host to Noblesville that night. Dwight Tallman coached the 1963 Bearcats. They beat South Bend Central 65-61 in the state final.