Honoring a Hoops Legend
of Madison names
Elm Street after former
basketball star Humes
of 1962 plans ceremony
to coincide with 50th reunion
(October 2012) After a basketball game on a hot
July afternoon, what could be more natural than heading to the pool
to cool off? Back in the 1950s Lawrence Humes friends wondered
why he always headed home instead of joining them at Crystal Beach.
We couldnt understand why he didnt come with us,
says Deanna Shelley, a classmate. We didnt realize he wasnt
allowed in the all-white pool.
courtesy of Hank Bentz
Humes speaks to the crowd as his brothers and son look on. Four
Humes Way signs were erected Main and Elm, Elm and Third,
Elm and Fourth, and Elm and Fifth. Elm Street is where the
Humes family lived. Pictured from left are Louis, Larry (speaking),
Kenny, Larrys son Howard Jr., and Willie. His brother, Howard,
When unfairness strikes, many people rightly
so get angry and demand their rights. Humes chose a different
path. Rather than fight or give up, Humes chose to focus on the opportunity
available through basketball to build a better life. Not only did he
achieve greatness, he inspired others.
Humes became a basketball legend. He was named Indianas Mr. Basketball
in 1962 after leading Madison High School to the state Final Four championship.
In regular season games, his high school record was 95 wins, one loss.
He then played for the University of Evansville, where his team won
two national championships and he was voted All American. He has since
been inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Humes prowess on the court showed itself almost immediately. After
attending the segregated Broadway school, he went to Madison High School
at the beginning of desegregation. He started the first game of his
freshman year on the junior varsity team. The coach pulled him at half
time. When the varsity team hit the court later that night, Humes was
a starter. He started at varsity level every high school game thereafter.
Larry wasnt just a great athlete, says Hank Bentz,
friend and teammate of Humes. He was a great man. He was always
teaching, inspiring those around him. No wonder he went on to teach
high school and college. He saw life as a lesson, and he shared those
lessons with us.
Humes greatest lessons focused on sportsmanship. Larry was
a ferocious player, but you never saw him get mad, go after anybody,
or do anything unsportsmanlike, Bentz continued. He set
the tone for the team. He made everyone around him better. It was like
osmosis. If you were around Larry, you played better and you were a
better person. Hes the same today.
The Madison High School Class of 1962 held its 50th reunion Sept. 22.
Shelley saw the reunion as a chance to celebrate Humes legacy.
She spearheaded the effort to ask City of Madison officials to rename
Elm Street from Main to Fifth Humes Way to honor the Humes
family for all they contributed to the community.
From 1958 to 1974, brothers Lawrence, Howard, Kenney, Willie and
Junior became a basketball dynasty, brother playing alongside brother.
One brother broke another brothers records, says Shelley.
We will probably never see anything like it again.
Madison officials agreed and held a renaming ceremony early in the day
on Sept. 22 as part of the reunion events.
At a reception hosted by the reunion committee at the Brown Gym, Humes
answered questions from the public.
Larry was still teaching, Bentz said. Someone would
ask about athletics, but Larry would turn the question into a life lesson.
When Humes was asked if he was ever afraid during a game, Bentz recalls,
Larry said, Theres a difference between fear and intimidation.
Fear inspires you to be your best. But, if youre intimidated,
youve lost before you even step onto the court. Same in life.
Its OK to be afraid, but if youre intimidated you might
as well not even try.
Today, Humes, 68, enjoys life in Indianapolis with his bride of 30 years,
Cecile Humes. They have two children and two granddaughters. Humes recently
retired from coaching, teaching and serving as a guidance counselor
at the high school and college levels.
Humes says, Growing up, my three goals were to be a policeman,
a state trooper or service person. None of those options came through,
so I went into teaching. I never had any authority growing up, so I
wanted a job with authority. I thought if I had a uniform, I could help
people in trouble. But by going into teaching and guidance counseling,
I helped keep kids from getting into trouble. So it worked out. I am
happiest when I can help somebody else.
(Former Madison basketball coaches) Bud Ritter and Lyde White
took me in and helped me. My work allowed me to give back.
When asked what he thought of the renaming of the street, Humes replied,
Of all the honors Ive had, this is the greatest because
this honors my whole family. Please tell the people of Madison that
nothing else means as much as this. Humes focus on helping
others, no matter the struggles he faced, made him a living legend.
For those who want to know more about Larry
Humes career, an hour-long interview is available on www.TheFan1070.com.
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