Beech Grove assistant athletic director Garret Daniel was not sure what to expect for a turnout Saturday afternoon. People are busy, after all, and it was a reasonably nice weekend day.
Daniel was pleased – more than pleased. Family, friends, colleagues, former colleagues and many others showed up by the hundreds to pay tribute to Beech Grove boys basketball coach Matt English on Saturday afternoon in the Beech Grove gym. The school unveiled a new gym floor, named after English, who is battling brain cancer for the third time.
On one side, in front of the Beech Grove bench, one of English’s favorite sayings, “We Before Me” is quoted under the words “Matt English Court” and above his signature. Another favorite line, “The Journey Begins Here” is on the other side of the court.
English, who still attends the Beech Grove basketball workouts when he is physically able, addressed a crowd of about 500 people midway through the open house. He joked that Katie Gearlds – the 2003 IndyStar Miss Basketball at Beech Grove and former Purdue star – was going to “kick my butt” for getting his name on the court before she did.
English, who is known for maximizing his talent in his 10 seasons at Beech Grove, thanked the crowd for attending. Many of those there had either coached with or against English, a tribute to his high regard in the coaching community.
“I’ve been around a number of places in my coaching career,” English, a native of Greenfield, told the crowd. “And there is none better than Beech Grove. I wouldn’t change my experience here for anything.”