On Wednesday, March 26, one of Rushville’s own, Jack Cross, will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame at New Castle. Cross graduated from Rushville High School in 1951. Players become eligible for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame induction 26 years after he/she have played with a high school team. That familiar phrase “he’s at the line” will play out again as a new line of players are honored. He joins an impressive 2014 Class of 11 other inductees including folks like William “Bill” Russell and Paul Patterson.
Mr. Cross grew up in Rushville not far from the high school, then located on Perkins Street (parents Tracy G. and Lena Cross). In addition, many of his high school years were spent on his grandparent’s farm (Chester and Carrie Cross).
“At that time you weren’t limited to just one sport, so I was able to play football, basketball and run track at Rushville High School. Coaches like Lou Ed Gohring (track) and Jim Gridley (basketball) were wonderful role models. I enjoyed playing/running for them. Track has changed so much over the years. In my day, we used a bamboo pole for the pole vault. This meant your vault was much more dependent on speed and out-right strength. We landed in sand instead of soft foam. It wasn’t until later on aluminum poles came on the scene,” Cross said.
He held the vaulting record for many years with his 12-foot vault. In addition to track, Cross was the South Central Conference’s leading scorer in football and basketball while a senior at Rushville.
“A bid to be a part of the Indiana All-Star Basketball Team wasn’t to be. However, the eyes of IU (Branch McCracken) and Ball State (Dick Staley) were on Cross as they sought out the best of the best for their respective programs. They knew what they were witnessing and realized this young man would be a great asset to their programs,” John Wilson (retired RCHS Athletic Director) conveyed.