Emmett B. "Branch" McCracken
College ballplayer turned coach "Big Bear" Branch McCracken earned his nickname because of his 6-foot-4-inch size and tendency to scowl. A ferocious and complete competitor at Indiana University, McCracken played center, forward, and guard, leading the Hoosiers in scoring for three consecutive years including setting the Big Ten season scoring record with 147 points in 1930. Playing under Hall of Fame coach Everett Dean, McCracken was named Big Ten conference Most Valuable Player in 1928. After he graduated, he played a short time professionally most notably for the Indianapolis Kautskys but his interest in coaching eventually sidelined his playing career. McCracken enjoyed an equally successful career as a coach, compiling a 450-231 record in 32 seasons at Indiana and Ball State. He guided Indiana, known as the "Hurrying Hoosiers," to NCAA championships in 1940 and 1953, feats that earned him Coach of the Year honors both seasons. McCracken was a workaholic and his teams reflected his hard work and spirited play.
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