State Stories


H.V. Porter’s Personal Collection Unearths Video of 1932-36 Boys Basketball State Finals

Bookmark and Share
Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Assistant Executive Director and resident historian Scott Johnson has unearthed the earliest video of the famed IHSA Boys Basketball State Tournament, courtesy of H.V. Porter. The video consists of on, and off the court, action from the 1932-1936 IHSA State Finals.

Porter, who famously coined the phrase “March Madness” while writing about the IHSA tourney in a 1939 poem, is a 1960 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. As an administrator for the Illinois High School Association and then the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), he was a key innovator in the game of basketball as a member of the National Rules Committee. His contributions include introducing the first molded basketball into play, and improvements to backboard designs, among many others.

Through his research on Porter (who passed in 1975) throughout the years, Johnson has gotten to know members of Porter’s extended family, who offered him the opportunity to review articles from H.V.’s personal collection this fall that had long been stored at his summer cottage in Northern Wisconsin.

Among those treasures was the video below. The video, which is housed on the IHSA's YouTube Archives Page, offers some incredible insights into the game of basketball at the time, along with some other unexpected items. An edited 10-minute version of the video narrated by Johnson is posted, while a second 90-minute version with the raw footage is also available. Highlights include:

  • High school players routinely taking, and making, shots near halfcourt as a part of their offense.
  • Clips of a 1932 ticker tape parade for the Chicago Cubs after winning the National League Pennant shot out of the window of the IHSA offices, which were housed in Chicago at the time.
  • Eight-time MLB all-star Lou Boudreau throwing a no-look pass while playing for Thornton High School.
  • A demonstration of The Electric Basketball Indicator.
  • A jumpball occurring after each made basket, something Porter is credited with helping to eliminate from the game through his rules committee work.
  • High schools featured in the video include: Canton High School, Equality High School, Hutsonville High School, Morton High School (Berwyn-Cicero), Quincy High School, Springfield High School, Thornton (Harvey).



Theme picker