Legendary Butler University coach Tony Hinkle is dead, but the Hinkle System lives on.
The continuity offense that Hinkle developed at Butler and passed on to generations of players can still be seen today in the offenses of such master tacticians as Bob Knight."Back in the 1940s and 1950s, people wanted coaches that had played for Hinkle, and one of the reasons was because of the Hinkle System," said Marvin Wood, who played for Hinkle before taking the system to Milan, where he coached the underdog state championship team that inspired the movie "Hoosiers."
"I dare say, without it, we never would have won the state," said Bobby Plump, who made the winning basket for tiny Milan in 1954.
In the movie, the character of Shooter portrayed by Dennis Hopper dusts off the picket-fence when Hickory High has a key game on the line.
"I recognized it as an out-of-bounds play" used by Hinkle, said Plump, who went on to letter for four years under the coach at Butler.
Hinkle died early Tuesday at his Indianapolis home at age 92. He compiled a 560-392 record during more than 40 years of basketball coaching at Butler that began in 1926.
The Hinkle system took basketball offensive strategy from an individual, freelancing, overpowering type of play to a continuity pattern in which players used picks and cuts to keep the floor balanced in a constant search for an open shot.
"It's based on fundamentals," Plump said. "A fundamentally sound team will always beat a more talented team (that lacks fundamentals)."
The system used one-man, two-man and three-man drills and required each player to learn every offensive position on the court.
"I was a little, short guy (5-foot-6), and I had to learn to play the middle, the post," said Wood.
Wood said Hinkle, along with contemporaries Adolph Rupp and Hank Iba, refined the continuity offense that can be seen today in the programs of Indiana's Bob Knight, Purdue's Gene Keady and even in the NBA.
"I think young people came to Butler just to learn the Hinkle system, people that wanted to go into coaching," said Wood.