Writer / Kevin Conrad
Photographer / JWCreative.Indy
A 1967 Center Grove High School (CGHS) graduate Pat Grimm was inducted into the prestigious Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in April. Grimm was a four-year starter for the Trojans from 1963-1967 in the pre-Indiana High School Athletic Association basketball era. She was a standout player and pioneer for CGHS’s first girls basketball team under legendary head coach Carol Tumey.
“The boys started playing Little League in grade school and basketball in junior high,” Grimm says. “We (girls) had to wait until high school. It was a very, very long wait. I was just glad to finally be able to play competitively.”
“I learned to play basketball in my backyard,” Grimm recalls. “My mom and dad built a wooden backboard and stuck it on a telephone pole. I learned to play with all the neighborhood boys and one other girl, Jimmy Horton, Ronnie and Rickie Witt, Jon and Tim Butler, Bob, Rusty and Ruth Skaggs, Keaney Sloop and Danny Deer. Best teachers ever.”
Grimm played point guard, scoring a career-high 50 points in just two quarters against Whiteland her freshman season. She averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists per game in leading CGHS to an undefeated season in her senior year.
In an attempt to attract students to attend their games, Grimm recalled hosting a game during the school day.
“My sophomore year we began a game against Greenwood during a sixth period convocation,” she says. “We wanted to get kids interested in coming to our games. At halftime, school was over so everyone had to catch the buses home. When we came out to start the second half, the boys varsity coach came out to claim the court for practice. There was a lot of heated discussion that resulted in us vacating the court so the boys could practice. We finished the game that night at the Greenwood gym.”
Center Grove Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees President, Carol Tumey, a retired CGHS teacher, coach and assistant athletic director, championed girls athletic programs at CGHS.
“I’m not sure I can put into words her impact,” Grimm says. “When she started there were probably 500 or so students in the entire high school. And now Center Grove is one of the largest in the state. She took the women’s program through that entire ride. She built each girls sport into a state contender during her tenure, either as a coach or with someone she was instrumental in hiring. She started coaching eight years before Title IX and coached well beyond. She saw all of the growth, from no women’s championships to championships in all of the current sports of record today. I was on her first team and she has stayed in touch with me for the last 55 years. She was instrumental in making sure that the Hall of Fame recognized me as a formidable player even though there are no stats or videos to back her up. I think that speaks to her credibility in women’s high school sports in Indiana. She is very special to me and all those who ever played for her.”
Grimm credits several individuals for helping her achieve this high honor.
“Most influential were my parents John and Beverly Grimm,” she says. “They supported my efforts one hundred percent every step of the way. They never missed a game at Center Grove and never missed a home game at Purdue. Obviously, Carol Tumey was very instrumental and she and I were so lucky to have the support of Melvin Vandermeer, our high school principal. He made sure Mrs. Tumey had whatever she needed, within his power, to accomplish whatever she wanted to try for the women’s sports programs. I believe we were also seriously supported by O. J. Sloop (former CGHS teacher, coach, vice principal) and John Clements (former CGHS athletic director). And last, but certainly not least, my neighborhood friends who spent countless hours in my backyard playing ball.”
After graduating from CGHS in 1967, Grimm played four years for Purdue before the institution of Title IX. She helped lead the Boilermakers in 1969 to their entry into the first women’s intercollegiate national tournament, earning a sixth-place finish. She excelled as a double-figure scorer, standout passer and defender at the point guard position. After earning an education degree in 1971, she was a physical education and health teacher for a period of time. She then transitioned into a 22-year career with Finish Line, rising to national sales manager. Grimm resides in Markleville, Ind.
The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, located in New Castle, announced in early December that Grimm was one of 11 women to be enshrined as part of the 18th women’s induction class. Grimm says she was overwhelmed when she received the news.
“I never believed this could happen to anyone who played in my era,” she says. “It is a childhood dream come true. I am still shocked, awed, honored and humbled. I have been awarded the highest honor in Indiana for playing a game I love. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”
CGHS honored Grimm during a home girls’ basketball game in mid-December.
“I was shocked that they would do this for me,” she says. “Then some of my former teammates were there, as well as some of my former classmates. The current team wanted a picture with me at center court of Vandy’s gym. Incredible. It has been 52 years since I graduated and the school has changed so much and yet it felt the same. I felt very honored, appreciated and, most importantly, remembered in such a positive way.”