Henry V. Porter

Enshrined 1960
Manito, IL
October 2, 1891 - October 27, 1975


Equipment inventor, rule maker, high-school coach, and athletic administrator, Henry Porter's innovations were vital to the evolution of basketball. In 1933, Porter designed the popular fan-shaped backboard, adopted for official use in 1940-41. In 1935, he pushed for replacement of the then-used cumbersome, irregular, and expensive 32-inch sewn leather ball with a 29 1/2-inch molded leather basketball. Under his leadership, high schools adopted the new ball in 1938, and later in the 1940s, adopted an even better composite-molded basketball. Throughout the 1930s, Porter teamed with Hall of Famer Oswald Tower to create new and consistent rules for basketball. In 1936, Porter published the first high school rulebook standardizing the game across the nation. In 1940, Porter became the first full-time executive secretary and editor of publications at the National Federation of State High School Athletic Association (NFSHSAA), a position he held until 1958.

Career Highlights

Served as the first rep for high schools on the National Basketball Rules Committee
Pioneered use of motion pictures to study proper playing techniques
Published the first high school rule book, 1936
Published the first magazine-style state high school association publication, The Illinois Athlete