(2-28-21) An Indiana player and coaching legend passed away yesterday at the age of 95…Jim Powers. Powers would coach and play at his alma mater, South Bend Central…his coach at Central was the legendary John Wooden.

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Inducted: 1993
High School: South Bend Central 1943
College: Indiana State University 1950

2-yr starting forward for Coach Wooden at Central in 1942 and ’43 … reached semi-state finals as junior … captain and leading scorer for state’s #1 team as a senior but upset by Elkhart in regional … following military service rejoined Wooden at Indiana State … played on NAIA national runners-up in 1947 and champs in 1950 … an asst coach for S.B. Central’s state title teams in ’53 and ’57, assumed head role in ’58 … coached Bears to state finals in ’63 with all-American guard Mike Warren … 174-94 in 11 years at Central. He coached at Elkhart Memorial from 1973-76 had a 53-38 record, including a Elkhart Sectional, Elkhart Regional champions in 1974. Before heading to Elkhart he was the head coach at Rochester.

1943 South Bend Central

1963 IHSAA State Runner-ups

“He’s famous (John Wooden) for the pyramid of success – all that means is that each day you try to be the best you can be… If you do the best you can do, that is success… the things I learned from him have stood the test of time.”


Jim Powers played for John Wooden at South Bend Central and Indiana State and shares those lessons, among plenty of other history, on the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Podcast.