After watching family members, friends, teammates and colleagues enter the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, Butch Wade and Willie Humes are about to take their turn.
Wade, a former Columbus High School and Indiana State star, and Humes, a former Madison and Idaho State standout and current assistant girls basketball coach at Columbus East, are part of the 12-member 2016 class that will be inducted on March 23 in Indianapolis.
“I thought I’d maybe go in, but I wasn’t expecting it,” Humes said. “I wasn’t getting too excited. I’m just thankful the committee picked me.”
Wade said he felt the same way when he received a call from Hall of Fame president Sam Alford.
“This is a phone call every year around this time you hope to get, and when the phone call actually comes, it’s a shock and overwhelming sense of pride,” Wade said. “It’s a great honor. I consider Indiana the basketball capitol. There is so much good basketball played here in Indiana, and to be in the Hall of Fame is unbelievable and overwhelming.”
Wade is the fourth player from the Bull Dogs’ top-ranked 1963 team to earn Hall of Fame accolades, joining Bill Russell, Jerry Newsom and Steve Hollenbeck. Their coach, Bill Stearman, also is in the Hall.
“(Stearman) had a house of pretty talented players,” Wade said. “Not many high schools would be able to boast four players in a two-year period that would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as well as your coach to go with it. It was a really special time then, the likes of which you’ll never see again.”
As a senior in 1962-63, Wade averaged 19.1 points and 10.5 rebounds for a team that went undefeated in the regular season and lost to eventual state champion Muncie Central in the semistate.
Wade went on to Indiana State, where he was a three-time team MVP and three-time All-American. He graduated as the Sycamores’ all-time leading scorer (1,672) and rebounder (540) and held the single-game scoring record (43). He was named to ISU’s All-Decade team of the 1960s and to the school’s All-Century team in 1998.
The NBA’s New York Knicks and the ABA’s Oakland Oaks drafted Wade. He taught in the Bartholomew Consolidated Schools Corp. for 20 years, was a varsity assistant boys coach for 10 years, head girls coach for two years and coached at Central Middle School for 16 years.
“For me, the single most important thing was, I want to be able to share it with my grandkids,” Wade said. “They know Grandpa was a player, but it’s hard to get kids to relate to what kind of impact you had on your high school team or even in college. When my family was here for Thanksgiving, my grandson — you’d have thought he was 10 feet tall — said ‘I didn’t know you did this or did that.'”
One of Wade’s former players at Central, Lance Barker, will be honored as part of this year’s Silver Anniversary Team. Barker played at East and is now an assistant coach at Columbus North.
“It’s really exciting and humbling to be recognized and then to have a young man that’s played for you be inducted, as well,” Wade said. “It kind of leaves you speechless.”
Meanwhile, Humes will be the second member of his family to enter the Hall of Fame, joining his brother Larry, who was inducted in 1991. Willie Humes was at the ceremony this spring when East head girls coach Danny Brown was inducted.
“It’s a great event,” Willie Humes said. “It was great to watch Danny go in. It was an overwhelming experience to be there with all those great guys.”
Willie Humes scored 1,876 points in four years at Madison, then 1,218 in two years at Vincennes University and 1,510 more in two years at Idaho State. He scored a school-record 51 points in his first game at Idaho State and ranked fifth in the country in scoring in 1969-70 (30.5) and third in 1970-71 (32.4).
After college, Willie Humes was drafted by the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and ABA’s Utah Stars. Atlanta traded his rights to Phoenix, where he had his ankles taped for the first time in training camp.
“They taped it so tight, it cut into the back of my tendons, and I couldn’t run,” he said. “I only got to play for one week. I wish I could have played more.”
He went back to Idaho State to get his degree in education, taught for one year in Idaho. He then went to work for Aerojet Nuclear Corporation in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Willie Humes moved to Indianapolis and was a claims examiner for SSI. He then moved to Columbus in 1978 and started coaching AAU basketball in 1995.
After spending three years as a boys assistant for Victor Bush at East, Willie Humes became the girls assistant for two years under Mel Good and eight years under Brown. He returned to his alma mater and went 53-16 with two sectional titles and a regional crown in three years as head girls coach at Madison, then came back to East last season as an assistant for Brown.
Willie Humes worked at Arvins and Faurecia for 34 years before retiring in 2012. He lives in Elizabethtown.
“I didn’t give (the Hall of Fame) any thought until I was sitting down there watching Danny go through,” he said. “I am looking forward to it very much. I was telling Danny ‘It doesn’t feel real.’ It’s so overwhelming.”
The 2016 men’s induction class for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame to be honored on March 23:
Name;High school;Grad year
Damon Bailey;Bedford North Lawrence;1990
Calbert Cheaney;Evansville Harrison;1989
Henry “Hank” Clason;Goshen;1938
Russ Grieger;Evansville Bosse;1960
Bill Hahn;Michigan City Elston;1959
Terry Stillabower;Lafayette Jeff;1964
Charles “Butch” Wade;Columbus;1963
Mike Blake (Silver Medal);Chicago Mt. Carmel;1962
Bill Diddel (Centennial Award);Indianapolis Manual;1904