PREP BASKETBALL | INDIANA HALL OF FAME

Divjak, Broughton, Miiller get their induction papers for HOF

2011-11-28T04:00:00Z 2011-11-30T20:05:51Z Divjak, Broughton, Miiller get their induction papers for HOFBy Al Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
November 28, 2011 4:00 am  • 

Ron Divjak's first thought when the phone rang was that another pushy telemarketer was calling.

"My son answered the phone and he said something about basketball," Divjak said. "I thought it was Indiana Unversity, asking for more money."

Try the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

"It turned out to be the chairman of the committee congratulating me for being voted in," Divjak said. "I was weak-kneed when he told me.

"I wasn't expecting it at all. It came out of the blue."

The Dyer resident is among 16 former players and coaches to be honored at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Banquet March 21 in Indianapolis.

A powerful rebounder and go-to scorer, Divjak starred on the East Chicago Washington 1960 state championship team that shocked previously-unbeaten Muncie Central, 75-59.

He then played for Gary native Fordy Anderson at Michigan State.

"Freshmen couldn't play (varsity) at that time and the only game you really looked forward to was the freshmen versus the varsity in a scrimmage -- and the place was jam-packed," said Divjak, 71.

"I had 27 points against the varsity and it was the first time the varsity had ever lost to a freshman class. That was a year after the famous Johnny Green was there and they went to the Final Four."

Divjak's teammate Pete Gent had 28 in that scrimmage and later played pro football with the Dallas Cowboys. He also authored the controversial novel "North Dallas Forty."

Divjak's promising career was cut short when he blew out his knee on a fastbreak while defended by former ECW teammate Phil Dawkins in a game against Purdue his sophomore season.

"That killed my college career right there," Divjak said. "I got an operation a year later and in those days, they just made a big 10-inch line and took everything out. I could never regain anything I had after that operation.

"In those days, they wanted you to stay in bed a week and not do anything for six weeks. Today, you get operated on and they want you standing and walking that same day."

Divjak said he then "switched gears" and considered teaching and coaching after college. He had a brief stretch as the Griffith boys varsity coach.

"My high school career is probably 90 percent of why I got in," he said of his selection. "We had beaten Muncie Central in the (state) finals when nobody gave us a chance.

"We were like Milan six years before that."

Muncie Central finished 28-1, the Senators 28-2.

Divjak and daughter Kristina (Lake Central '94) each won state championships in their high school careers.

His 1960 Washington squad was inducted in 2010, so Divjak will be returning once again to the Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis.

Two other inductees -- Mike Broughton and Gene Miiller -- have strong region roots.

Broughton is a 1973 Hebron grad who coached at Hebron, Rushville, Castle and won the 1993 state championship at Jeffersonville.

Now the athletic director at Jennings County, Broughton compiled a 350-145 record in 21 seasons as a high school coach and was 109-55 in five NAIA seasons at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla.

Miiller, now in his 36th year of coaching, spent six seasons at Kankakee Valley, then moved on to Vincennes Lincoln, Lafayette Jeff and Washington, where he currently is 130-22 with state titles in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

He also serves as AD.

Overall, the South Newton grad is 598-250.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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