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One of the greatest sports movies ever made, 'Hoosiers' created a large amount of Hoosier Hysteria in 1986, and gave new life to a gym built all the way back in the 1920s.

The film, which starred Gene Hackman as an aggressive basketball coach who takes over a hopeless team in small-town Indiana, was lauded by critics upon its release and went on to receive two Oscar nominations, including one for the late Dennis Hopper. (Fun fact: 'Hoosiers' is the only film for which Hopper received an acting nomination.) A true David vs. Goliath story, 'Hoosiers' had fans cheering both from the bleechers and in movie theaters across America. It even taught us a few new tricks to the game -- like, you know, pass the ball four times before shooting.

One of the greatest sports movies ever made, 'Hoosiers' created a large amount of Hoosier Hysteria in 1986, and gave new life to a gym built all the way back in the 1920s.

The film, which starred Gene Hackman as an aggressive basketball coach who takes over a hopeless team in small-town Indiana, was lauded by critics upon its release and went on to receive two Oscar nominations, including one for the late Dennis Hopper. (Fun fact: 'Hoosiers' is the only film for which Hopper received an acting nomination.) A true David vs. Goliath story, 'Hoosiers' had fans cheering both from the bleechers and in movie theaters across America. It even taught us a few new tricks to the game -- like, you know, pass the ball four times before shooting.

Location as Character: The gym served as the main setting for the Hickory Huskers' basketball games and practices. At the start of the film, the team is in a state of flux. Its new coach, Norman Dale (Hackman), is an alienating figure whose strict coaching methods (according to him, whatever he says is the law) win him more enemies in town than actual basketball games. Even worse, Hickory's star player, Jimmy Chitwood, has decided to sit this season out, and Dale's assistant coach, Shooter (Hopper, in an Oscar-nominated role), is an alcoholic. By midseason, the town, tired of Dale's antics, is ready to blow the whistle on him.

Enter Chitwood. To save Dale's job, Chitwood agrees to get back on the court, and by doing so, the Hoosiers experience a complete turnaround. Suddenly, this small-town team finds itself playing with the big boys, and that once elusive Indiana state championship now seems like a reality. And through it all, the gym is there to provide some of the most memorable scenes in sports movie history, both on and off the court.


Historical Significance: According to its official website, the Knightstown Gym was built in 1922 to provide the town's high school basketball team with a place to play its games. (The town reportedly raised over $14,000 in donations to get it built.) But by the '60s, with a growing population, the town decided to build a new, larger gym, thus rendering the Knightstown Gym obsolete -- that is, until 'Hoosiers' rolled into town.

As it turned out, the gym was the perfect setting for the film's '50s aesthetics; according to ESPN, only two minor changes had to be made for the movie. And after it was released, 'Hoosiers' helped save the gym when high maintenance costs threatened to tear it down for good.

Today, the Knightstown Gym, now known as the Hoosier Gym, is used as a community center.

Directions: The Hoosier Gym is located at 355 West Washington St., near E. Caret St. From the US 40, turn West onto Washington St., then turn North on the East Side.

Visitor Info: Group tours are available and must be scheduled by calling ahead. The Hoosier Gym is also available for a number of events, from weddings, to dinners to, yes, basketball.