INDIANAPOLIS | This is the most cherished time of the year, when simple one-line sayings on a card can become a life's mantra.
“No one is a failure if he has friends.”
“Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”
“It is better to give than receive.”
On Friday afternoon at Indianapolis Marshall High School, Roosevelt coach Renaldo Thomas was giving something out to the media of central Indiana. He was doing it moments after something was taken from him, an embarrassing 90-48 loss to Horizon Christian.
Thomas gave a present to his friend, father-figure and mentor, former Panthers coach Ron Heflin.
“This is self explanatory,” Thomas said, handing out a yellow paper with black letterhead on the top. How appropriate, too.
“Calling All Panthers,” it started.
On Jan. 18 in midtown Gary, Roosevelt's gymnasium will get quite an honor. A night of appreciation for Heflin will be crystallized when the hardwood of greatness will be renamed Ron Heflin Court.
“That should've been done 10 years ago,” Thomas said. “Now that I'm in charge we're doing it now. It's a good time to give him his roses.”
Heflin is Hoosier Hysteria. The Hall of Fame coach grew up on 25th Avenue and used to have football players walk him across the street so the young lad wouldn't get hit by traffic.
With Bo Mallard in his family, Heflin always wanted to coach for his alma mater. He was an assistant when the Panthers won the 1968 state title. He celebrated with the city he loves so dear.
Heflin had more close calls in the state tournament than a bus full of Jimmy Chitwoods. With Thomas as his star, Roosevelt lost to Scott Skiles' 1982 Plymouth team in one of the most riveting championship games ever.
Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson finally gave Heflin his state title in 1991.
Thomas said that Heflin plans on being at the gala in his honor. Every high school basketball-loving fan should come to this event, stand to our collective feet and shout praise to a great basketball coach.
And give loud love to an even greater person.
Heflin deserves this. Region basketball deserves this.
“We've got the ship headed in the right direction,” Thomas said, referring to his young team.
And honoring Heflin is a giant leap forward in a game of giant hops.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.