Big-name sports stars are pretty much staples of the Hoops Tip-Off Dinners.
At the annual boys basketball fundraiser, audience members have heard words of wisdom from stars like former NBA players Austin Carr and North Canton native Dick Snyder, not to mention extreme locals like Michael Gallina, superintendent of North Canton City Schools who played baseball for the University of Mount Union.
For the 10th annual dinner this year, Hoover Hoops has invited another sports legend: Bobby Plump, the Indiana native who sunk the infamous buzzer-beating winning shot for the Milan Indians when they played Muncie Central in the 1954 Indiana state basketball finals. The “small-town team versus big-city players” upset served as the inspiration for Hoosiers, the sports movie classic.
Varsity met Plump when he went to eat at Plump's restaurant, Plump’s Last Shot, in Indianapolis. He knows Plump will be a hit at the event, which takes place Nov. 11 at Skyland Pines Banquet Center.
“His agent tells me, ‘He’ll be the best you’ve ever seen,’” Montgomery said.
He recalled his interaction with Plump last year when he visited Butler University. Montgomery said he wandered into Plump's Last Shot and asked where the owner was and said he’d like to meet him. It wasn't that difficult to meet Plump face to face, either.
“(The employee) said ‘Actually, he just lives up the street,’ and they called him on the phone,” he said. “So he came down and we spent a couple hours just sitting there at his restaurant talking. He’s a great guy.”
Montgomery said Tuesday the dinner is nearing capacity at more than 200 people.
For Corporate VIP tickets call Terry Cook at 330-465-6569. For individual and VIP tickets call Debbie Ducey at 330-495-8350. VIP tickets enable ticket-holders to meet Plump between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. His speech takes place at 8:30 p.m.
The event will feature live and silent auctions and a grand prize of $1,500. Auction items include autographed memorabilia from sports greats.
"It's a fantastic way to tip off the season," Montgomery said.
More about Bobby Plump:
Plump received the Indiana Mr. Basketball Award in 1954.
He continued his basketball career at Indiana’s Butler University from 1955-58, and guided the Bulldogs to the National Invitation Tournament as a senior. He was Butler’s all-time leading scorer, and Butler’s MVP in 1957 and 1958. After college, he played basketball for three years for Phillips 66 of the National Industrial Basketball League.
Bobby was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981. He had a successful career in insurance.