When the Central boys basketball team agreed to travel down to Kentucky to face Shelby County on Saturday, coach Jeff Holloway wasn’t thinking about the road trip.
The game revolves around former Central and Shelby County coach Bill Harrell. He won a state championship with Shelby County before coming to Muncie and winning three with the Bearcats. He coached Central until 1992 before retiring, only to come out of retirement in 1999.
He stepped down from the job in October 2003 and died less than a year later.
“It’s an honor, it’s special for him to be loved and embraced as much as he is at Central,” Holloway said. “Once (Shelby County) called and said they were honoring him, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. We wanted to be a part of this.”
High school basketball wasn’t his only passion. He spent two years as the head coach of Morehead State University.
The game was set up last spring, with the knowledge that this season would mark the 50th anniversary of Shelby County’s state title in the 1965-66 season.
And Holloway barely missed being coached by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame legend, inducted in 1991. Holloway came to Central heading into his junior year of high school, just after Harrell left.
The Central Fieldhouse now bears his name, lettered across the court in purple.
“He was a good man, he cared about Central, he’d do anything for you. It didn’t have to be about basketball, it could be anything in life,” Holloway said. “He was always willing to step up and do what he could for Central basketball.”
Contact prep sports reporter David Polaski at (765) 213-5848. Follow him on Twitter @DavidPolaskiTSP.