What’s in a Name? – Hinkle Fieldhouse

Written by on April 21, 2014 in What’s in a Name? - 2 Comments
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Hinkle at sunset - photo by Ryan Hamlett

Hinkle Fieldhouse at sunset – photo by Ryan Hamlett

Hinkle Fieldhouse
Location:  Butler University Campus
Named for: Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle, multi-sport coach and athletic director, Butler University

The iconic Butler fieldhouse takes its name from Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle, whose shadow still looms large over the history of Butler University.  Born in 1899 in Logansport, he attended Calumet High School and graduated in 1916. He also attended the University of Chicago, where he was a three sport athlete, who graduated in 1920.

Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle - photo courtesy of Vintage Irvington

Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle – photo courtesy of Vintage Irvington

In 1921, Hinkle began coaching baseball at Butler, and remained a coach there until 1970. He also coached basketball and football at Butler, where he racked up a cumulative 1,000+ wins in all three sports. His only hiatus was four years during World War II, when he coached Navy football, basketball and baseball teams deployed on the Great Lakes.

Although an excellent coach for baseball, basketball and football, he became most famous for his basketball teams–which he coached for four decades. He earned the nickname “Dean of Indiana Basketball Coaches” for his many years of success on the court, and served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and chairman of the rules committee.  Hinkle would also serve as athletic director of Butler for close to 40 years.  Butler Fieldhouse was renamed in his honor in 1965.

Vintage postcard of Butler Fieldhouse

Vintage postcard of Butler Fieldhouse

Hinkle retired in 1970 but continued to serve the university as a Community Affairs Liaison. He was enshrined in Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1964 and in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965. He was also elected to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1974.  He died in 1992 and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

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About the Author

Steve Campbell is the former Deputy Mayor of Indiianapolis, owns a communications strategy consulting firm, and teaches journalism and mass communications at the IUPUI School of Journalism.

2 Comments on "What’s in a Name? – Hinkle Fieldhouse"

  1. Cheryl Boone-Delgado April 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm · Reply

    Some of us readers are old enough to remember when Tony Hinkle was still the coach. The last high school Sectionals I attended before my family moved out of Indy was in 1965, when they were held at “Butler Fieldhouse.” The memories of sitting high up in the stands, getting picked up and dropped off a couple of blocks away in snowy, cold weather, are still vivid.

  2. Jack Boeldt April 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm · Reply

    My aunt and uncle took me everywhere with them including a 1949 pro basketball game the Indianapolis Olympians played at the Butler Field House. In 1952-3
    my high school friends and I started going to the State basketball tourney games at Butler back when there were over 700 teams in the single class tourney. As a sophomore,
    I made the HS “Reserve” team and we played Attucks at Butler. I didn’t get in that game, but I did get to do warm-up drills on Coach Hinkles floor.The 1950’s were high school
    glory days with Milan winning in 1954, and Attucks going undefeated in 1956 for their second State championship, and coming back for a third State title in 1959. At the ’56 finals afternoon game, Attucks v Muncie Central, Indianapolis HS school football lettermen got to sit on the edge of the raised hardwood during the 2nd quarter to prevent spectators from getting on the playing surface during half time. One of my high school friends made the Butler BB team in 1956 and played with Bobby Plump (aka Jimmy Chitwood in the movie HOOSIERS) I also remember we could always count on snow storms hitting during Sectionals here in Indy. Three of my high school team mates were on Butler’s first undefeated football season in ’59.

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