Misconceptions About Hoosiers

Misconception Fact
The plot of Hoosiers is based on the legendary story of the 1954 Indiana state-champion Milan Indians. The screenplay was inspired by but not based on Milan’s famous victory. It also was inspired by screenwriter Angelo Pizzo’s and director David Anspaugh’s love of Indiana high school basketball in general. The Milan story has very little in common with Hoosiers. See the FAQ for more details.
Jimmy Chitwood is supposed to be Bobby Plump, the Milan player who launched the shot that lifted the Indians to victory. Although both Chitwood and Plump made a championship-winning basket, no character in the movie is supposed to represent anyone from real life.
Bobby Plump and Maris Valainis (Jimmy Chitwood), June 2012

Bobby Plump and Maris Valainis (Jimmy Chitwood), June 2012

Milan Indians Coach Marvin Wood had his players measure the distance from the basket to the court of Butler Fieldhouse, and also measure the free throw lane, as Coach Dale has the Huskers do in the movie. The idea for this scene came from Anspaugh.
Hickory’s opponent at the state finals is an all-black team that is supposed to represent 1950s basketball powerhouse Indianapolis Crispus Attucks. The South Bend Central Bears are an integrated team that is somewhat reminiscent of the 1954 state runner-up Muncie Central Bearcats.
Myra Fleener teaches English and/or is the assistant principal. Neither the movie nor the script specifies what subject Myra teaches. And schools as small as Hickory didn’t have assistant principals. In fact, a typical small-school principal in the 1950s had enough time during the workday to teach a class or two.
Jack Nicholson was offered the part of Coach Norman Dale. Anspaugh was friends with Nicholson and showed him the Hoosiers script early on to get his feedback and possibly some advice on how Anspaugh and Pizzo could raise money to make the film. After reading the script, Nicholson told them he would like to play Coach Dale. Ultimately, Nicholson’s schedule prevented him from doing so. But his early attachment to the film gave Hoosiers a much-needed boost of publicity in Hollywood.
Hoosiers is set in a particular part of Indiana, such as the southeast, and the film is inconsistent in the details of Hickory’s location. Hickory is a fictional town.
Hoosiers gets some of the mascots of real-life teams wrong, such as calling Linton the Wildcats instead of the Miners. The screenplay underwent numerous revisions. Some of the alterations involved changing the names of certain Hickory opponents. Originally the script had Hickory playing the Jasper Wildcats at the regional, but the team was changed to Linton.
The movie received little publicity during filming, and few people knew about the production. Hoosiers received plenty of media coverage, starting at the end of 1984. It was written about in dozens of Indiana newspapers, magazines, and other publications—and it got some national press as well. It was mentioned in at least 147 articles in 1984–85 alone and in over 140 more in the next two years. (See the bibliographies for lists of these articles.) Numerous Indiana residents contacted the Indiana Film Commission, which helped with the location search, to recommend their town as a filming site. Hundreds of young men showed up at the open casting call at which the Huskers and other basketball players were chosen. And hundreds more Indiana residents showed up at the auditions for background extras. Thousands appeared as extras in the crowd at the games.
The filmmakers had trouble attracting enough extras to populate all the scenes shot at the various gyms. The only game where not enough extas showed up was the state finals. The gyms were full on the other 16 gym-filming days.
Some scenes were filmed in Frankfort. Parts of the 1994 college basketball movie Blue Chips were shot in Frankfort. No scenes from Hoosiers were filmed there.
Pizzo’s screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Hoosiers received two Oscar nominations: best supporting actor (Dennis Hopper) and best original score (Jerry Goldsmith).