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Billy Harmon has attended the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies as relatives and former teammates were honored.
Now, it’s Harmon’s turn to be inducted. The 1973 Jennings County graduate is one of 14 people selected for the Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will be March 26.
“I was very happy,” said Harmon, 58. “It’s a very nice honor. It was a surprise. You never know about those things. People who should be in ain’t. I didn’t get excited about it until I got the call.”
Harmon watched his uncle, Chuck Harmon, who led Washington (Daviess) to state titles in 1941 and 1942, be inducted in 1989.
He also was there to see former Louisville teammate Junior Bridgeman’s induction and was there last year when Jennings athletics director Mike Broughton, who led Jeffersonville to the state title in 1993, was inducted.
“I always thought it would be nice to be in there,” Harmon said. “I went up there with two or three other people and watched them go in, and coach Broughton down here is in. Every young athlete, that would be the ultimate goal — to get in. It’s something we dreamed of.”
Harmon ranks second in school history with 1,537 points and is the all-time leader with 1,001 rebounds. He also had 392 assists.
Danny Brown, Harmon’s teammate at Jennings and Louisville and the current Columbus East girls coach, remembers when Harmon had games of 34 points, 30 rebounds and 13 assists and another when he had 35 points,
30 rebounds and 12 assists.
“Some of the games that he
had are unheard of in today’s
game,” Brown said.
Brown and Harmon led the Panthers to big years in 1971-72 and 1972-73, but they were upset by Madison in the regional in 1972 and by Seymour in the sectional in 1973.
“I played on an NCAA team that should have won it all,” Harmon said. “I played on a high school team that should have won state. At tournament time, it sort of gets under your skin.”
Brown made the Indiana All-Star team in 1973, when only 10 players were selected, but Harmon didn’t. Both players made the Silver Anniversary team in 1998.
Now that Harmon has been chosen for the Hall of Fame, he feels Brown should get in, as well. Harmon and Brown were key reserves on Louisville’s 1975 team that lost to eventual national champion UCLA by one point in the national semifinals.
“It’s not going to be complete until my teammate goes in — Danny Brown,” Harmon said. “Danny is very deserving, too. We were a team.”
“I felt like the careers that we had, you never know where it’s going to lead,” Brown said. “Those kind of things are out of your hand; and when those kind of things happen, you have to be humbled and honored. You have to be happy for Billy for this moment.”
The Harmon file
Name: Billy Harmon
High school: Jennings County
Resides: North Vernon
Occupation: Owns Harmon Construction in North Vernon, Harmon Steel in Indianapolis and Taylor Brothers in Columbus
Family: Wife, Linda; daughter, Ebony; son, Willie; and five granddaughters
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