Pirate Basketball Turns 100 Years Old, Events Begin Tuesday
In celebration of that milestone, the Charlestown High School Athletic Department will have a series of events to honor the Pirates basketball past, which began during the initial boys’ basketball season of 1916-17. The series of events will recognize those who have contributed during the last 100 years to the hoops program. All events are scheduled at home games during the boys’ regular basketball season.
The first 100th Anniversary events will be held during the Girls and Boys Varsity double-header with New Washington on Tuesday, November 22nd, in the CHS Sports Arena. Charlestown Boys and Girls Basketball 1,000 point career scorers will be honored between the games at approximately 7:15 pm. Charlestown High School Pirates’ esteemed coaches, Billy L. Abel and John E. Wood, will also be recognized and honored at halftime of the Boys game Tuesday evening as part of the 100th Anniversary celebration.
Coach Billy L. Abel, 95, from Franklin, Indiana; the esteemed mentor will be recognized as the Charlestown Pirates oldest living coach. He served as coach during the 1952 and 1953 basketball campaigns, which he tutored among other talented players, the legendary Pirate, Steve Hamilton, who went onto greatness in the professional world of sports.
Coach Abel, a graduate of Vincennes High School and Franklin College, was an outstanding player for the 1939 Alices, who won the Vincennes Sectional and Regional and advanced to the Evansville Semi-State, losing to Evansville Bosse in the championship game.
Abel was part of the physical training program in the Air Corps during World War II, where he played basketball with the professionally well-known Kelly Field Flyers. He made his first public high school coaching appearance at Pekin. From 1949 to 1951, he was assistant basketball coach to Paoli Ramblers esteemed mentor D. E. Chambers before coming to Charlestown.
While at Charlestown, Coach Abel had an overall winning record of 30-13 and was the Pirates 14th varsity boys’ basketball coach. His talented 1952 Pirates won the annual Clark County Invitational Tournament, one of the premier tourneys in the region at the time. It was the eighth time the Pirates had won the coveted tournament in its history.
After leaving Charlestown, Coach Abel held several key administrative posts at different Indiana high schools in his professional career. Among them were Attica, Bedford, Ben Davis and Plainfield.
After receiving his doctorate in education at Indiana University, he joined the IU faculty, where he taught teachers aspiring to become principals and superintendents at the graduate level for 22 years before retirement.
Coach John E. Wood, 85, will be recognized as Charlestown’s winningest varsity boys’ basketball coach. Coach Wood, a graduate of Indiana University, was a star player for Coach Gerl Fur’s Morristown High School Yellow Jackets and received a college basketball scholarship to play for the distinguished Indiana University Coach Branch McCracken.
Coach Wood began his high school coaching debut at Charlestown. He served two different stints, 1956-to-1961 and 1975-to-1977 and compiled an extraordinary 139-63 record with the Pirates.
Wood’s 1957 and 1959 Pirates won the Jeffersonville Holiday Invitational Tournament, which had the Big-Four basketball teams in the region that included Jeffersonville, Silver Creek and Providence.
Coach Wood’s 1975 and 1976 Pirates won back-to-back Madison Sectionals, the first coach to achieve that record at Charlestown.
The 1976 Pirates went 20-5, 5-3 Mid-Southern Conference and captured the annual Silver Creek Holiday tourney that season, the fourth for the basketball program. The ’76 Pirates reached another milestone as a team. They became only the second team in its celebrated hoops history to break into the twenty-win column.
In his three Mid-Southern Conference seasons, Wood’s teams went 15-10. He has won five IHSAA basketball sectional crowns; two of the five were at Charlestown.
In Coach Wood’s high school coaching career of 496 games, he amassed 283 wins and was shy 17 victories of reaching his goal of 300 before his retirement from the coaching ranks.
The series of celebrated events are an open invitation to all former players, coaches, cheerleaders to join current players, coaches, cheerleaders in celebrating the Pirates 100th Anniversary of Hoops.
Visit www.piratepride.blue/100 for additional information on upcoming events.