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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

McAnally Center – Greencastle Tiger Cubs


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

McAnally Center 910 E Washington St Greencastle, IN 46135



Year Opened: 1969

Capacity: 4,900

 

One of Indiana’s Best-Kept Secret


Russell S. Hessler served as the principal of Greencastle High School for 40 years from 1978 to 2018 and was the woodshop teacher before moving into his administrative role. His experience and craftsmanship paid off when the school decided to renovate the gymnasium seating and replace its home court several years ago.

Hessler was instrumental in redesigning the look of the McAnally Center that opened in 1969 and at one time sat 5,200 spectators.


The first phase was recoloring the bleachers, resulting in the gym's capacity scaling down to 4,900. The new bleacher seating went from dark brown to school colors of purple and gray. A few years later, the court was altered, resulting in the two-tone surface brown hues matching the brown awnings on top of the gym’s dome roof ceiling. The court design was part of a school-wide contest by 15 students.


The winning design included the schools giant “G” logo–modeled after the University of Georgia and not the Green Bay Packers–and the new Tiger Cub logo that Hessler co-designed and paid the $125 trademark fee. He included the proper shape of the Tiger Cub teeth.


The school gets its name from DePauw University, which is known as the Tigers. The high school began using the Tiger Cubs name a little while after.


The basketball team was a finalist for three straight state tournaments from 1931 to 1933, losing in the 1931 and 1933 title games. The gymnasium would be named after its star Jess McAnally who would pass away shortly after graduating.


Food & Beverage 3

The food options at the McAnally Center are what you will find at most other basketball gyms in the state. The menu items include hot dogs, jumbo hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, pretzels, candy, and Pepsi products. There are two concession stands at the bottom corners of the building and for an added treat, ice cream sundaes are offered for $4 on the upper concourse. All of the proceeds benefit the all-sports booster club.


Atmosphere 4

The McAnally Center is much like any other high school gymnasium in Indiana in its framework. It is large, offers bleacher seating, has two sections of seats, features a couple of small concession stands, offers a student section, and has the school band playing in a designated area. However, the arena is very well-lit and provides a “wow factor” the moment you walk in through the door.


The dome ceiling offers LED lighting that hangs above the court and a modern scoreboard decked out in school colors that also adds a bit of “pop” to the building. At both ends of the court are areas where school championships are displayed prominently and four banners hang which feature the state finalists of 1931 to 1933.


Just outside the arena on the upper concourse is the trophy room that is dominated by Jess McAnally who led the Tiger Cubs to those three state championships. He went on to play college basketball at Northwestern University in Chicago but died unexpectedly during his sophomore year. When the building was being constructed, his family made sure that it was named after him.


There was no team mascot during our visit, but the PA announcer did quite a nice job throughout the game introducing players to the sound system that was loud and clear. There are also fellow booster clubs on the upper concourse selling merchandise and even ice cream sundaes during the game.


Neighborhood 4

The town of Greencastle is located about 60 miles west of Indianapolis and is accessible by I-70. It is known as being the home to DePauw University, a private liberal arts college with an enrollment of around 2,300 students that was established in 1837. The town of 10,508 people does offer quite a bit of local eateries to enjoy after the game.


Wasser Brewing Company combines well-crafted beers with fine foods in a slightly upscale atmosphere. The beer is quite good and the recommended dishes would be the smoked pork banh mi and breaded tenderloin sandwiches.


Almost Home contemporary cuisine is surrounded by a vast amount of Chicago Cubs paraphernalia on the brick walls. Bridges offer wood-fired pizzas, chef-inspired dishes, and a selection of fine wine in a very “swanky” setting. If you are looking for freshly made burgers, hand-cut fries, drafts, and a fun atmosphere, Tap House 24 is your destination.


Fans 3

The Tiger Cub fans put on a good showing for home games and support the boys in purple out on the court. The student section stands throughout the game and is highly visible and also extremely supportive of the basketball team.


Access 4

The gymnasium is 50 years old but appears to be somewhat newer based on recent renovations to the seating area, lighting, and flooring. Fans enter the main entrance at the bottom and staircases take them to the upper level. The main concourse wraps around the entire court for easy access and viewing of the action of the game.


Return on Investment 4

The cost to see a basketball game is $5 and falls in line with many other high school gymnasiums in the state of Indiana. However, this is one of the best-lit gyms in the state and it has a court that is unparalleled to any other that I have seen in my last four years of touring various facilities in the Hoosier State. Downtown Greencastle also provides some great restaurants for dining and drinking and you’re not too far away from Indianapolis to make the commute.


Extras 3

The McAnally Center receives a point for the LED lighting that makes everything pop throughout the facility. The lights hang from the dome roof and provide a visual that is stunning to the first-time visitor.


The second point is for the basketball court which is among the prettiest that I have seen in the state. The multi-color wood floor features the school's “G’ logo in the center as well as the updated Tiger Cub logo on both sides of the floor.


The third point is for the scoreboard which is among the newest and brightest in the state. There are also two other scoreboards at each end of the gym that make it much easier for referees, players, and coaches to see how much time is left in the game.


Final Thoughts

I had not heard too much about the McAnally Center but after looking through a list of gymnasiums recently I saw a few pictures and thought it was worth my effort to make a trip out to see a game. I am glad I did since the very gorgeous-looking building offers wonderful colors, lighting, and plenty of visuals to set it apart from any other gymnasium. It was also a pleasure to talk to former school principal Russell S. Hessler; I learned a lot more about that gymnasium than I would have ever fathomed.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com

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