Story courtesy Cavemen News
(6-21-22) The Cave is well known for being the oldest active gym in the state of tradition rich Indiana. This summer the historic gym is having the big white sound barrier removed that has hung above the floor for at least 5 decades. It was originally put in to improve the sound for musical events and other special gatherings.
Mishawaka Director of Athletics Dean Huppert
“This will get The Cave one step closer to it’s original glorious state. When you have a Hoosier Temple like we do, every move you make is carefully crafted. This will improve the look dramatically and we’ll make sure the sound doesn’t suffer by moving speakers and providing subtle acoustic solutions . In addition to the white monster coming down, the lighting will improve for fans to watch our student athletes in action.”
This is a huge project that will put the MHS gym out of commission for most of the summer. Construction began after seniors walked across the stage in early June. the plan is to have everything completed by August. The first phase was to put plywood over the floor as a protective barrier for pieces that fall and equipment that is moved. Then hundreds of feet of scaffolding was built around the perimeter of the floor. During the removal, people will not be allowed into the building and workers will have to wear protective gear for the harmful dust particles and debris that will be in the air. After the removal, professionals will come in and change the lights and paint the rafters so everything looks like new. As new as a 99 year old gym can look.
The Cave is not only used for basketball, but the prestigious Al Smith hosts two of the most amazing days of high school wrestling every December. The high school hosts band and choir concerts, convocations, phys ed, graduation and volleyball in The Cave.
“This facility was designed to showcase events. Not many people realize the main gym floor used to run East and West. In 1959 it was changed to go north and south. Bleachers, a couple of offices and a room that used to be used for wrestling practice was added.”
Mishawaka’s famous gym has not only hosted proms, professional wrestling and a BMX showcase, but it has been the sight of presidential rallies. The second oldest gym in Indiana is at Vincennes Rivet. The Cave opened up in 1924, Rivet’s gym started having games in 1925.
In 2018, Home and Away Magazine featured The Cave on an article that said-
“Follow the basketball Gymnasium Trail” in Indiana. And in 2021, “Visit Indiana” website listed the Top 10 High School Basketball Gyms in the Hoosier State. The Cave ranked #4. Seating capacity is listed at 3,500 and this is a must see for any high school basketball fanatic. “
Marv Wood was the Mishawaka coach just a few years after leading Milan to the State Championship. John Wooden coached here when he was leading South Bend Central. There are so many cool stories like when Bob Knight sat in the iconic press box high above the floor to recruit an opponents player. Former Purdue Coach and Miss Basketball Sharon Versyp learned the game here while Hall of Famers Steve Anderson and Al Smith won thousands of matches and meets at MHS.
We can’t wait to see the finished product. Students, alumni and community members will be able to make The Cave a destination for years to come and enjoy watching their favorite Cavemen perform.
Pictures courtesy Mishawaka Athletic Department