October 3, 2023
For Immediate Release
Marvin’s Garden (Honoring Marvin Wood, Legendary Coach of the Milan 1954 State Championship) Dedication
Thursday, October 5th at 2:00pm
What: Dedication of Marvin’s Garden, Mishawaka’s newest park
When: Thursday, October 5th at 2:00pm
Where: Northwest Corner of Cedar and Lincolnway East, Mishawaka
Media Contacts: Matthew Lentsch, Executive Director, Development & Governmental Affairs, 574.258-1635
The extraordinary new Mishawaka Park, honoring the late Coach and former Mishawaka Common Councilman Marvin Wood, whose story was featured in the Movie Hoosiers will be officially dedicated on October 5th. Marvin’s Garden – in honor of one of the most iconic figures in Indiana sports, Coach Marvin Wood, the real coach featured in the movie Hoosiers. Many of the Milan 1954 State Championship team, as well Marvin’s wife, Mary Lou Wood will attend the park dedication.
The championship team is known worldwide as the inspiration for the 1986 feature film “Hoosiers.”
Marvin Wood, who coached a tiny high school’s basketball team to the Indiana state championship, portrayed in the 1986 movie ”Hoosiers,” died in South Bend., Ind. He was 71. Woods’s wife, Mary Lou, said the cause was lymphoma.
The team’s feat was legendary in the basketball-crazed state well before it was celebrated in the movie.
At the storied 1954 title game, all but a handful of the 1,150 citizens of Milan, Ind., were on hand to see their Indians take on Muncie Central High School, whose team had won four state championships. Tickets were being scalped for $50 and it was estimated that 90 percent of Indiana’s residents were watching or listening to broadcasts of the contest.
The final 18 seconds of the game were so exquisitely tense that the movie reproduced them almost exactly. The denouement came with just five seconds left when Bobby Plump faked left and fired a shot cleanly through the net, winning the game, 32-30. The Indianapolis Star recently called the game the top sports story in Indiana history.
We are thrilled to have been able to preserve such an important part of Indiana’s sports history and honor coach Marvin Wood, the real Hoosiers and the Milan 1954 team. People of all ages will be amazed, and sports enthusiasts will love seeing this park and piece of Indiana Basketball lore in our new Park, Marvin Garden’s.
The sculptures in Marvin’s Garden depicting the of Coach Marvin Wood and his team measuring the basketball court in Hinkle Fieldhouse, just before Milan took the floor in 1954 for a practice, to illustrate that it was the same dimensions as the team’s hometown school court.
That act, was meant to reassure the team that, despite the enormous size of the field house where the state finals were being played, the team should “cast out their fear.”