remembered as exceptional man:
coach's character set an example for others
by Linda Mullen
IN -- Oct. 17, 1999)
been 45 years since the Milan High School basketball team
sat on the front row bench of the state championship game
beside its coach Marvin Wood.
Saturday, seven of those same 1954 teammates again sat in
the front row beside their coach, but this time it was on
a church pew, not a players' bench. And Wood's body was
lying in a wooden casket.
the casket was taken out of the First United Methodist
Church, Gene White and Bobby Plump walked side-by-side
behind it. Next came Roger Schroder, Ray Craft, Bob
Engel, Rollin Cutter, Glen Butte and then-Milan Principal
wife of 51 years, Mary Lou, their daughter, Deidra, and
three grandchildren followed the former Milan players out
of the church so that the family would be first in the
receiving line for the 500 people who attended Saturday's
died of cancer Wednesday (Oct. 13) at the age of 71.
1954 basketball team members all wore carnations, dyed
the school's yellow-gold team color. Also at the funeral
was Virginia Craft, one of the cheerleaders from Wood's
although the four speakers at the service referred often
to Wood's basketball legacy--he and his championship team
were the inspiration for the hit movie
"Hoosiers"--all of them said Wood was more
committed to his family, faith and community.
had often said, "God was coaching that team, not
Paridaen, a friend of the Wood family, said Mary Lou
often worried aloud, "If a basketball and I were
placed at half-court, which one would he choose?"
Paridaen then said, "The real love of his life was
his eulogy, Kerry Marshall, who wrote the biography of
Marv Wood "A Boy, A Ball, and a Dream,"
remembered that Wood's favorite song was "Jesus
Loves Me"; his favorite words were "I'll
try"; and his favorite saying was, "It's nice
to be important, but it's more important to be
Daniel Motto talked about the true-life incident of Wood
measuring the height of the basketball goal in Hinkle
Fieldhouse, just before Milan took the floor in 1954 for
a practice, to illustrate that it was exactly the same
height as the goal at the team's hometown school.
act, Motto said, 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."
said when he watched "Hoosiers" for the first
time, he sat on the edge of his seat, waiting to make
sure that scene was in it. When it was, Motto said, he
knew the movie was truly inspired by Wood.
the South Bend Tribune)
Mr. Marvin Wood
was the MHS basketball coach during the Class of '68's