New Hall will be renamed Ray and George Crowe Hall in honor of legendary basketball coach Ray Crowe ’38 (top photo), and his younger brother George Crowe ’43 (bottom photo) a barrier-breaking major league baseball player. The new name will take effect this fall, and a dedication ceremony is planned. The idea to honor the late Crowe brothers originated with the UIndy Board of Trustees, who unanimously approved the renaming, University President Beverley Pitts said.
“We’re extremely proud to claim Ray and George Crowe among our graduates,” she said. “These men distinguished themselves, both here at the University and in later life, not only as great competitors but as mentors and role models for character, sportsmanship, and citizenship.”
Ray Crowe, who died in 2003, was perhaps best known as coach of the Crispus Attucks High School basketball team that won state championships in 1955 and 1956, becoming the first African-American team in the nation to claim a state title and launching the career of NBA star Oscar Robertson. Ray was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968 and UIndy’s Hall of Fame in 1987. In college, Ray earned nine letters in basketball, track, and baseball, and the education degree that informed his career as a teacher and coach. In 1966, he was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives, serving two terms and chairing the House Education Committee. He later led the Indianapolis parks department and served on the City-County Council as well as 18 years on UIndy’s Board of Trustees.
George Crowe, named Indiana’s first Mr. Basketball while playing for Franklin High School, also became a three-sport standout at the University, which other siblings also attended. After serving overseas in the Army from 1943 to 1946, he began playing professional basketball and baseball. He was thought to be the first African-American player to sign with the Boston Braves organization (1949), playing in the minors before making his big-league debut in 1952. As an All-Star first baseman, George later played for the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976, the University of Indianapolis Hall of Fame in 1986, and the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004. He died in 2011.