Many Indiana University fans have heard the name Branch McCracken, after whom the hallowed court at Assembly Hall is named, but how many of them know about the legendary coach himself? Before Tom Crean, before Bob Knight, IU basketball relied on this man to make the school famous for its hoops stars. And boy did he – with two national titles, four Big Ten titles, and numerous other accolades, McCracken defined Hoosier Hysteria for a generation. However, his greatest legacy remains the example of good character he set and the way he touched the lives of everyone around him. Fans remember him as the coach who helped IU break the color barrier in Big Ten basketball, and players remember him as a second father. If, as McCracken once wrote, "A coach is not paid in money or winning teams, but in the men his players become," he was a rich man, indeed. Branch McCracken made Indiana University basketball a force to be reckoned with, and this is his story.
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