By Gregg A. Sims
Washington Times Herald
High School basketball fans can have a chance to relive some history this weekend in Ireland.
Jim Roos, son of former Washington football and assistant basketball coach Jim Roos, has written "One Small Town, One Crazy Coach" about Pete Gill and the 1963 regional champion Ireland Spuds.
Ireland defeated Sullivan, 75-63, in the opening round of the Huntingburg Regional and then topped Washington, 39-37, for the regional championship.
Washington defeated Vincennes Lincoln, 58-49, in the opening round. The Spuds lost in the first round of the Evansville Semistate, 61-36, to Evansville Bosse.
Roos moved from Washington to take the job of principal at Ireland before the 1961 school year after spending three years at Washington. His son, who is now a professor of English at the University of Cincinnati, was 11 at the time the game was played.
The weekend coincides with Ireland's annual St. Patrick's Day activities on Saturday and Sunday.
A plaque commemorating the team on its 50th anniversary will be presented at noon during Saturday's events at the Chicken Place.
The 1963 team will then be on a float for the St. Patrick's Day parade that starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, with each team member being named as a 'Mayor for the Day'.
Roos will then give a reading from the book beginning at about 2:30 p.m. at the Ireland Historical Society at the end of the parade.
Adding to the spice is the anticipated appearances of nearly 200 Indiana high school veterans who have been invited to the festivities.
Roos graduated from Tell City in 1970 and is a 1974 graduate of the University of Evansville. He has been a professor at Cincinnati since 1976.
The book's publication is expected in September from the Indiana University Press. Roos and the basketball veterans will be available for some story and memory swapping on Sunday. Might be an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Washington High School graduate Robert Leslie is a physical therapist with Champion Orthotics in Augusta, Georgia. There's a golf tournament happening there is a few weeks, but that¹s the reason for taking notice of Robert.
Leslie became the junior varsity and varsity assistant boys basketball coach at Curtis Baptist High School in Augusta three seasons ago, and the Crusaders won the Class A Georgia Independent School Association state championship at Mercer University this season.
The Crusaders finished with 15-2 run to finish their season through the region tournament and the sweet 16 for the championship.
Curtis Baptist defeated defending state champion Dawson Street of La Grange 56-47.
Dawson was making its third consecutive appearance in the association¹s championship game.
Leslie, a 1990 graduate, was a basketball team manager and played golf for the Hatchets.
He became interested in training at Vincennes University and continued his education at Indiana State.
He worked with both basketball and football teams at Terre Haute. Both Robert, and his wife Tricia, have worked as trainers since 1998 in Augusta.
Their six-year-old daughter Madison attends the school.
"I guess I do it in my spare time," Leslie said with a chuckle, "whenever that is. I knew the people at the school, and they knew I was interested in basketball. I started three years ago. It¹s been a lot of fun." The Crusaders have not won less than 19 games in any season in Leslie's time as a coach. They played in the Class 2A championship last winter.
"We were not very tall," Leslie said of the team that has one player a bit over six-foot tall. "But they are very quick and really get after it. They're good kids."