(12-9-17) This week Dugger Union AD Joe Pigg told the Tribune-Star :

“We are planning on joining the IHSAA again.”

For four years the Bulldogs have not been a part of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), it all happened when their school district in 2014 made the decision to close the small-town’s schools. The community of Dugger did not want to lose the heartbeat of the community, so they found away to stay open by becoming a charter school. Since that time they have made big strides at all levels and now the school is ready take the next step in athletics, hoping to join the IHSAA and an athletic conference.

Pigg continued by saying:

“We’ve got to have our paperwork in by the end of August.”

The School Board will discuss it during its next meeting. The school board has in place several members who have put a lot of effort in place since day one giving time and energy to make this all work at Dugger Union, Kyle Foli (football coach), Jim Stringer (has coached basketball too) and Gina Lovelace. Athletics is something very special in this small Indiana border community.

On a future athletic conference for the Bulldogs, Pigg told the Tribune-Star that the Bulldogs have received offers about joining an all-Illinois  conference , particularly for football, the Little Okaw Valley Conference (LOVC).

On December 1st 15 of the 19 Little Okaw Valley Conference schools announced they are withdrawing from the league following the 2018-19 season.

LOVC president Matthew Shoaff (principal at Okaw Valley High Schooltold the Herald & Review:

“At this time, there is a restructuring of the conference and schools are doing what they feel is in the best interest of their students and communities.”

The four teams remaining (all in Illinois) are Martinsville, Oblong, Palestine and Hutsonville.

LOVC map

Oblong superintendent Jeff Patchett  told the Herald & Review:

“We’re the four that are left. I would assume the other schools have something already together that they could all agree on before they turned in their letter. But it’s happened before if there are other teams out there that are unhappy in their conference, we would have no choice but to listen. We can’t do much with a four-team conference.”

Pigg said:

“We’re kinda weighing our options. That part of it is still kinda up in the air. … I’d like us to be all IHSAA. That’s what I’m going to shoot for. Our numbers are higher enrollment-wise than we have ever been. We’ve been getting a lot of new kids here. We did it with a lot less for many, many years.”

If the four remaining LOVC members want a school they can count on in the future, Dugger Union is your team. The Bulldog faithful have shown under numerous difficult situations that they can turn ‘lemons into lemonade’.

A similar situation is the Illinois-border community of Mt. Carmel (home of  IU women’s basketball star Tyra Buss), they are in an all-Indiana conference the Big 8:

Boonville, Jasper, Mt. Vernon, Princeton, Vincennes Lincoln Washington and Mt. Carmel (Illinois)

No matter what happens you can always count on Dugger making it worked for their kids.


From The Final Season, based on a true story and a small city Norway, Iowa, the school was closed and consolidated with another school district.