A poignant interlude amid the October 6 Homecoming activities was the rededication of the former New Hall dormitory as Ray & George Crowe Hall, honoring two UIndy alumni who went on to become barrier-breaking figures in the history of American sport. Attending the afternoon ceremony were many members of the Crowe family, including Stephanie Crowe ’11, great-niece of the two honorees. Also present were several former players of coach Ray Crowe ’38, who famously led the Crispus Attucks High School team to two state championships in the 1950s as he began a long career in public service.
“More than athletes, he taught us how to be great citizens, help other people,” said former Attucks star and basketball great Hallie Bryant, who went on to spend nearly three decades with the Harlem Globetrotters. Ray’s son Lloyd Crowe noted that Ray and his younger brother, George Crowe ’43, spoke highly of their years at the University, then known as Indiana Central. He recalled how former coach Harry Good helped his father find work after graduation.
“I think one of the major lessons he learned here was to be loyal to his players, both on and off the court,” said Lloyd, a deputy chief with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Another guest at the event was New York-based author-historian Claude Johnson, founder of the sports licensing firm and basketball history website Black Fives. He read excerpts from his interviews with George Crowe, who was Indiana’s first Mr. Basketball, a three-sport standout at Indiana Central, a member of the storied New York Rens barnstorming basketball team, and later an infielder for the Boston Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, and the St. Louis Cardinals. George Crowe died in 2011. Ray Crowe’s Crispus Attucks basketball squad was the first African-American team in the nation to claim a state title, launching the career of NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.
“When Attucks won the championship, I was among the crowd at the bonfires,” recalled UIndy Trustee William Kiesel ’63, who led the effort to rename the residence hall in honor of the Crowes.
Ray later served two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives, led the Indianapolis parks department, served on the City-County Council, and served 18 years on UIndy’s Board of Trustees. He died in 2003.
Photo: Members of the extended Crowe family pause for a commemorative photo during the dedication festivities.