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Program Type: Speaker

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How did basketball become Indiana’s game? Hear Historian Chandler Lighty discuss the emergence of the game in the state’s YMCAs, and trace the sport’s growth through the birth of "Hoosier Hysteria." Lighty will focus, in particular, on the first eight high school state championship teams, which all came from the tri-county area of Montgomery, Boone, and Tippecanoe counties. If you think the story of Milan’s ’54 championship is something, then don't miss hearing about tiny Wingate’s back-to-back championships of 1913 and 1914.

Lighty is director of the Indiana Historical Bureau, the state agency responsible for the historical marker program. Lighty was previously project manager for Hoosier State Chronicles: Indiana’s Digital Historic Newspaper Program, which won the Indiana Historical Society’s "Outstanding Collaborative Project" in 2015. In working with Hoosier State Chronicles, Lighty coordinated the digitization of many historic issues of the Hancock Democrat and Greenfield Daily Reporter.

From 2008-2013, Lighty was on staff with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. In 2015, Lighty won the Thornbrough Award for his Indiana Magazine of History article, “James Naismith Didn’t Sleep Here: A Re-examination of Indiana’s Basketball Origins.” He somewhat regularly blogs about Indiana basketball history and other topics at the Indiana History Blog: blog.history.in.gov. He is currently working on a manuscript for History Press entitled, The Cradle of Indiana Basketball: The Hoosier State’s Earliest High School Champions, which is planned for publication in October 2019.

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