Lindley Hall, Newton, Kansas, original location for Newton High School basketball games
Like my dad, most boys growing up in this railroad town of Newton, Kansas, had one goal: making the basketball team. From 1916 until about 1958 Newton was considered by many to be the premiere basketball city in Kansas. Newton won 13 championships in the 40-year span from 1916 and 1956 and was always considered a contender thanks to coaches Frank Lindley (1914-45) and John Ravenscroft (1945-1958). Coach Lindley was a coaching pioneer of his time. He started experimenting with zone defense in 1913 and introduced it to Newton in 1914, going on to win titles in 1916 and 1917 using the zone as a staple to be complemented by the fast break. His teams were known for being fundamentally sound. Turnovers were inexcusable and defensive lapses resulted in a sit on the bench. When Lindley retired from Newton in 1944, his record was 594-118. He’d established a winning state of mind in Newton and made basketball more of a necessity than a hobby or a pastime. Before he retired, Lindley wanted to make sure the tradition he’d helped establish at Newton would be carry on. Ravenscroft was a former player of Lindley’s, a trusted assistant coach and a military man. Both had the same values when it came to teaching basketball. When Ravenscroft took over, most of the country was still shooting the ball with two hands. He taught his players the one-handed shot and won four Class AA championships. He integrated the Newton basketball team. Before he took over there were separate basketball teams for blacks and Hispanics. All of these games were played in the historic Lindley Hall – seats were reservation only and passed on from generation to generation. My grandfather and grandmother, elegantly dressed, attended nearly every one of Dad’s games in Lindley Hall; escorted to their seats by popular Newton high girls known as “usherettes” also adorned in their finest attire including long skirts, heels, hose AND white gloves.
Harold Hauck, inductee into Newton High School Hall of Fame, 2013
My dad, John Harold Hauck, was the first three-year letterman for legendary Railroader basketball coach John Ravenscroft and he was an integral piece of the infamous 1948 “Dream Team”. My dad, known for his aggressive rebounding skills, was inducted recently into the Newton High School Hall of Fame joining his fellow team mates, Bill Lienhard, Milt “Tiny” Gray, and Lanoy Loganbill. Dad was a part of the golden era of Newton High School basketball, participating in three state tournaments. The railers were champions in 1946, finished third in 1947 and lost a pivotal game in the finals in 1948 to the Topeka High Trojans. You can imagine how hard it was for those boys on the bus ride back to Newton after failing to live up to the hype, romantic ideals and high expectations of the town sport enthusiasts as well as their families, friends and most importantly – their coach and teammates. Over time, Dad embraced the big loss in the state championship as a “learning experience” and ironically went on to marry my mom (a Topeka high graduate). I guess he embraced the tenant..”if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy.
My aunt Myrna, and cousins Susan, Cecilia and Michelle (Shelly) at the football game half-time HoF plaque presentation.
At the reception following the Friday night football game, a solo photo of Dad in his Railroader uniform set on a table filled with team photos of the Dream Team. Dad’s photo clearly outlined a gangling figure of a too-skinny-kid with banged up knees holding up a 6’4″ frame of an athlete with a set of distinctive ears and jet black hair punctuating a friendly face made even more familiar by his wide-set big blue eyes staring back at me from the photograph — I swear Dad winked at me from the photo and said in his loud commanding voice…”this is pretty cool, kid, isn’t it?” It was better than cool.
The reception was held at the Santa Fe School located in the shadows of the venerable Lindley Hall. The table centerpieces were slats of old maple from the original Lindley Hall basketball court; the plank’s anchored bunches of black and gold balloons and gently reminded all of us of bygone years. The high school principal welcomed Dad’s family and we met many old friends that remembered Dad, my Uncle Wendall (Dad’s younger brother), and grandparents well. Lanoy Loganbill, Dad’s team-mate, spoke at the induction service of his memories of Newton, basketball and his friendship with my dad. It was wonderful affirmation about a man I knew so well. It is easy to understand how his experience growing up in Newton gave him the self-confidence and yes, bravado, to live his entire life as if he was big man on campus including a life of leadership, service to others, fatherhood, Hauck patriarch to a gaggle of Hauck offspring including 4 Hauck kids, 10 grandchildren, three… soon-to-be… four great grandchildren, eight nieces, a wonderful sister-in-law, daughters- and son-in laws and dear friends and family who traveled from all over the states to Newton to celebrate his life. My dad would have loved the recognition and the celebration of yet another Newton High School victory. HH, formed by his days playing basketball for Newton High School, grew to embrace the center stage and each and every “tip off” in the biggest game of all… life. Long live his legacy in each of us.
Dad is second on the left, wearing number 70. Lanoy Loganbill is sporting number 100. Why did the numbering go so high?
The Hauck Gaggle, September 20, 2013, Newton High School Football Field