(3-15-23) Three individuals with significant ties to Indiana high school basketball will be recognized with Virgil Sweet Awards from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association in 2023, it was announced Wednesday (March 15).
Roger Grossman of WRSW Radio in Warsaw, summer basketball organizer Denise McClanahan of Indianapolis and longtime sportswriter Mike Lopresti of Richmond are the recipients of this year’s awards. One person is honored from each IHSAA district — Grossman in District 1, McClanahan in District 2 and Lopresti in District 3.
Virgil Sweet Awards are presented to those who have provided meritorious service in the promotion of basketball across Indiana. The award is named in honor of Sweet, a former Valparaiso High School basketball coach and executive director of the IBCA from 1974 through 1984.
This is the 47th year that the IBCA has presented an award or awards for service to basketball beyond coaching. A single winner was named from 1975 through 1979. Multiple winners have been named from 1980 to the present, although no winners were named in 1991 (no clinic was held that year) or 2021 (when the 2020 winners were honored because of the COVID-19 pandemic).
A list of winners from over the years — plus a bio of Virgil Sweet — are beneath the biographies of the 2023 winners.
This year’s awards will be presented on Thursday, April 20 as part of the 2023 IBCA Clinic at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville, Ind. For more information about the IBCA, go to in.nhsbca.org.
Here is more information about each Sweet Award honoree for 2023.
Roger Grossman has broadcast high school basketball and other sports in Warsaw and northern Indiana for more than 30 years. He now is completing his 32nd school year with WRSW Radio.
Grossman is a 1986 graduate of Argos High School, where competed in four varsity sports – three seasons in soccer, one season in basketball, four seasons in golf and, concurrently with golf, three seasons in baseball.
He went on to Butler University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in radio/television in 1991. He began broadcasting Butler men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football games in 1987 on WAJC Radio while a college student. He also played on the Bulldogs’ golf team for one season and served three seasons as a student manager for the Butler women’s basketball team.
Grossman began his professional career in June 1991 as a summer intern at WRSW, then stayed on as a football analyst that fall and provided play-by-play coverage for Warsaw girls’ basketball that winter. He added football and boys’ basketball play-by-play duties to his responsibilities in 2002.
Over 32 seasons, Grossman has broadcast nearly 2,800 contests in boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, football, baseball, softball and soccer. He also hosts the “Tiger Talk” program on 35 Saturdays each school year.
He has been named the state Broadcaster of the Year three times by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association. He also was recognized as the IHSBCA district Broadcaster of the Year four other times.
Grossman was honored in 2010 as a recipient of the IHSAA Distinguished Media Service Award, and his broadcast location in the southwest corner of the Tiger Den in Warsaw has been named “Roger’s Roost” in his honor. He also has been a licensed basketball official since 1986.
Grossman and his wife, Holly, are parents to two children – Hannah, 13, and Oliver, 9.
Denise Gritton McClanahan has been a high school basketball coach for 33 of the past 35 years, compiling a 238-233 record in 23 seasons as a varsity head coach. She is recognized as an IBCA Virgil Sweet Award winner for her contributions to basketball beyond her years of coaching.
For the past 35 years, McClanahan has organized and directed the Lady Mac Summer League, a program that serves as many as 70 schools and 700 players during June each summer with teams participating from Terre Haute to Richmond, Seymour to Marion and all across the Indianapolis area. There are divisions for prospective varsity, junior varsity and entering ninth-, eighth- and seventh-grade players with about 400 games played over 12 dates each June.
McClanahan also has been active in travel teams and camps throughout her career. She has guided travel teams for 31 years in the Indy Southside, Lady Mac, Indiana’s Finest, Indiana Elite and Indiana Faith club programs with multiple Indiana AAU state championships, numerous national tournament appearances and two AAU national championships. In addition, she operated High Intensity Girls Basketball Camp and Showcase events from 1991 to 2000. These events started when there were few girls-only camps and ended when most in-state universities began offering similar opportunities.
She also has been active in a number of coaching associations as well as a number of boards and service groups. Those include long-term memberships in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association and the Marion County Coaches of Girls Sports Association as well as serving on the advisory board for Indy Indoor Sports Park from 2000-14, the ICGSA poll committee in 1997-98, the ICGSA executive board from 2002-05 and the Indiana Elite executive board from 2004-15.
McClanahan has been honored in the past with the MCCGSA Jan Brown Award of Excellence in 2007 and the NFHS Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award in 2010. And April 2023 will be most memorable for her as, in addition to her Virgil Sweet Award, she also will be a 2023 inductee to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame as the Indiana Fever Silver Medal Award winner.
A 1981 graduate of Perry Meridian High School, Denise Gritton earned 12 varsity letters with four each in basketball, diving and track & field. Her basketball team was a two-time Marion County Tournament champion, she three times qualified for the State Finals in diving and s he was a three-year class president while in high school.
She went on to play four years of college basketball, one season at Central Michigan, one season at Butler University and two seasons at IUPUI en route to earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from IUPUI in 1985. She later earned a master’s degree in physical education and sports administration from Indiana University in 1991.
McClanahan has been a teacher for Perry Township Schools for 37 years (1986-87 at Meridian Middle School, 1987-2010 at Southport High School and 2010-present at Southport Middle School). She served as Southport’s varsity girls’ basketball coach with a 236-215 record from 1987-2009 and was the Beech Grove varsity girls’ basketball coach in 2012-13.
She also has been a boys’ basketball sixth-grade coach for one year in Beech Grove, coach of the semi-pro WABA Indiana team in 2011-12 as well as a girls’ basketball assistant coach for one year at Franklin Central, seven years at Roncalli and most recently the past two seasons at Perry Meridian. She also served as a high school swimming and diving coach for seven years and girls’ soccer coach for three years at different points.
While a varsity head coach, McClanahan’s teams won four sectional championships (1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993), two Marion County Tournament titles and two Central Suburban Athletic Conference crowns (1993 and 1994). She twice was honored as Marion County Coach of the Year (1990 and 1995) and CSAC Coach of the Year (1993 and 1994). McClanahan was a coach in the Indiana East-West All-Star Classic in 1991, the Indianapolis City-County All-Star Game in 1995, was a Junior All-Star assistant coach in 2000 and was an Indiana All-Star assistant coach in 2002.
While it is clear that McClanahan has loved to share her passion for basketball the past 35 years, the one thing she loves more is being a mother to her daughter, Macy, 28.
Mike Lopresti’s byline has been a fixture across various media platforms for more than 50 years with him always based in his hometown of Richmond, Ind.
Lopresti’s first bylines in 1970 were in the high school Richmond Register and the local Richmond Palladium-Item. He currently is in his ninth year as a national college basketball writer and sixth year as the lead college baseball writer for NCAA.com. In between, he worked for 31 years as a national sportswriter for the Gannett News Service with his game stories, features and columns appearing in hundreds of newspapers across the country as well as in the Gannett-owned USA Today. He also contributed sports columns for nine years to the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Through it all, Lopresti never has forgotten his roots that include Indiana sports in general and Hoosier Hysteria in specific.
A 1971 graduate of Richmond High School, Lopresti served as a varsity basketball student manager for three years and started his journalism career while in high school. He went on to Ball State University, graduating cum laude in 1975 and continuing to work for the Palladium-Item during his time in college. From 1970 to 1981, he mostly covered high school sports, including eight IHSAA boys’ basketball State Finals, three IHSAA girls’ basketball State Finals, many other tournament contests and more than 400 regular-season games.
He became the Gannett national sportswriter in 1982. While there, he began coverage over major sports events that now include 44 NCAA men’s basketball tournaments, 42 NCAA men’s Final Fours (every one since 1980), seven NCAA women’s Final Fours, 31 Super Bowls, 30 Masters golf tournaments, 21 Rose Bowl football games and 16 Olympic Games. Over those 31 years, he also wrote a number of high school-oriented pieces for Gannett and USA Today, including the 1990 Indiana boys’ basketball State Finals in the Hoosier Dome.
From 2013-22, Lopresti was a sports columnist for the Indianapolis Business Journal with many high school basketball-oriented features. They included a detailed look at the 1969 IHSAA boys’ basketball State Finals and the four teams’ combined total of one loss as well as reliving the Milan Miracle in 2014 by sitting with Bobby Plump and Ray Craft in Hinkle Fieldhouse on the exact 60th anniversary the 1954 championship game.
Lopresti began writing for NCAA.com in 2013 and continues in key roles with its coverage of college basketball and college baseball, including the College World Series in Omaha. For the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball Tournament, he was assigned by the NCAA to attend to as many games as possible to set a record; because all of that year’s games were in Indiana, he witnessed 40 of the 67 games.
He also has been a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame and Heisman Trophy, and he has served as an associate director for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Every once in awhile, you’re at an event and you just feel privileged to be there,” he told the Palladium-Item in 2013. “It’s like going to a movie – you have no idea how it’s going to end. You’re going to be seeing moments that the people involved are going to remember the rest of their lives.”
Over the years, Lopresti has managed his work and travel schedule to attend virtually every Richmond High School boys’ basketball sectional game since 1959. In 2007, he co-authored “Hoops and Glory,” a book on Richmond basketball with Jan Clark, Dick Reynolds and Mike Bennett. He also coached Richmond Middle School basketball for three years and Richmond-based youth basketball teams, both boys and girls, for nine years. He served as a director for eight Indiana AAU boys basketball and girls basketball regional events.
Lopresti has received many professional awards and honors during his career. They include eight Best of Gannett Awards, six awards from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists, the Indiana Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association’s Corky Lamm Sportswriter of the Year Award, the Jim Murray Outstanding Sportswriter Award and the Williams Ringle Career Achievement Award from Gannett.
He was inducted into the Ball State Journalism Hall of Fame in 2005, the Indiana Sportswriters & Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 2009 and the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2013. He also was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Richmond High School in 2013.
Lopresti and his late wife, Kris, have three children (Abby, John and Karen) and one grandson (Michael)
Virgil Sweet Award winners
Virgil Sweet Award winners, as presented by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association from 1975-present. One winner per year, 1975-1979. Generally, five winners per year from 1980-2003 when the IHSAA was in a five-district format. Three to eight winners per year from 2004-present when IHSAA has been in a three-district format. The award initially was called the IBCA Medal Award. The name was changed to the IBCA Service Award in 1978. The name was changed to the IBCA Virgil Sweet Award in 1986.
1975: Bob Williams.
1976: Nate Kaufman.
1977: Hilliard Gates.
1978: Marion Crawley.
1979: Marv Bates (posthumously).
1980: Doug Adams (District 1); Len Davis (District 2); Jerry Baker (District 3); John Jordan (District 4); Bob Simmers (District 5).
1981: Terry Lee (District 1); Jack Yaggy (District 2); Otis Bowen (District 3); Bob Barnet (District 4); Joe Edwards (District 5).
1982: Bob King (District 1); Forrest Miller (District 2); Dave Pert (District 3); Herbie Houk (District 4); Richard Lankford (District 5).
1983: Dave Krider (District 1); Earl Mishler (District 2); Patricia Roy (District 3); Sam Simmermaker (District 4); Norman Hall (District 5).
1984: Pinky Newell (District 1); Herb Swartz (District 2); Don Jellison (District 3); Morry Mannies (District 4); Whitey Jones (District 5).
1985: Virgil Sweet (District 1); Joe Smekens (District 2); Charlie Maas (District 3); Sam Roberts (District 4); Bob Hammel (District 5).
1986: Harry Bradway (District 1); Hilliard Gates (District 2); Jimmie Angelopolous and Ron Harris (District 3); Don McBride (District 4); John Potts (District 5).
1987: Bill Overholser (District 1); Bill Fowler (District 2); Howard Catt (District 3); Orvis “Shorty” Burdsall (District 4); Lloyd E. “Barney” Scott (District 5).
1988: Paul Rommelmann (District 1); Gene Conard (District 2); Jerry Baker (District 3); Eric Wohlford (District 4); Bob Simmers (District 5).
1989: Doug Adams (District 1); Bob Straight (District 2); Don Bates (District 3); Phil Stigelman (District 4); Guy Glover (District 5).
1990: Skip Collins (District 1); Bud Gallmeier (District 2); Betty Sizelove (District 3); Gus Moorhead (District 4); Bob Lochmueller (District 5).
1991: no awards presented (no clinic program held this year).
1992: Joe Heath (District 1); Ken Klimek (District 2); Garry Donna (District 3); Phil Buck (District 4); Bud Ritter (District 5).
1993: John Mutka (District 1); Leroy Lambright (District 2); Ray Craft (District 3); Ron Lemasters (District 4); Charlie Jenkins (District 5).
1994: Mildred Ball (District 1); Bob Primmer (District 2); Tom Carnegie (District 3); Ted Server (District 4); George Marshall (District 5).
1995: Earl Mishler (District 1); By Hey (District 2); Kurt Freudenthal (District 3); Harold Schutz (District 4); Temme Patterson (District 5).
1996: Paul Condry (District 1); Greg Johans (District 2); Wayne Fuson (District 3); Jan Clark (District 4); Mike Blake (District 5).
1997: Paul Jankowski (District 1); David Fulkerson (District 2); Gene Conard (District 3); John Robbins (District 4); Dan Korb (District 5).
1998: Wally McCormack (District 1); Dick Stimpson (District 2); Bill Pfister (District 3); Ron Raver (District 4); Mike Barrett (District 5).
1999: Forrest Rhode (District 1); Dennis Kraft (District 2); Jim Rosenstihl (District 3); Phil Snodgress (District 4); Robert “Bud” Shippee (District 5).
2000: Jeff Washburn (District 1); Rita Price Simpson (District 2); Howard Sharpe (District 3); Scott Davidson and Jeff Ayler (District 4); Larry Schweizer (District 5).
2001: Curt Casbon (District 1); Fred Inniger (District 2); Gene Cato (District 3); Bob Lovell (District 4); Brian Bohne (District 5).
2002: Marvin Tudor (District 1); Jack Woodruff (District 2); Jim Russell (District 3); John Hodge (District 4); Tom Collins (District 5).
2003: Paul Curtis (District 1); Dean Pantazi (District 2); Vince Welch (District 3); George Griffith (District 4); Jack Butcher (District 5).
2004: Ron Heflin and Dan Swift (District 1); Patrick Aikman and Pat McKee (District 2); Richard Lankford, Donna Sullivan and Graham Taylor (District 3).
2005: Keith Nuest and Elmer Strautman (District 1); Bill Benner and Gene Keady (District 2); Walt Ferber (District 3).
2006: Homer Drew and Mike Hey (District 1); Gene Milner and Herb Schwomeyer (District 2); Dan Egierski and Orlando “Gunner” Wyman (District 3).
2007: Anthony Anderson, Tom Rehm and Dan Willett (District 1); Dave Calabro and Judi Warren (District 2); Cliff Guilliams and Kurt Gutgsell (District 3).
2008: Chip Jones and Fred Mitchell (District 1); Roger Dickinson and Bob Kirkhoff (District 2); Chris James and Jason Recker (District 3).
2009: Bob Adams (District 1); Greg Bell and Leigh Evans (District 2); Bob Boyles, John Harrell and Jeff Sagarin (District 3).
2010: Stu Swartz, Jackie and Cory Webster (District 1); Larry Barrett and Ed Siegel (District 2); Hugh Schaefer (District 3).
2011: Mark Smith (District 1); Mike Beas (District 2); Charles Denbo (District 3).
2012: Al Hamnik and Greg Jones (District 1); Dr. John McCarroll, Robin Miller and Dick Rea (District 2); Curt Cavin, Arv Koontz and Pete Swanson (District 3).
2013: Joe Arredondo and Wayne Svetanoff (District 1); Rich Nye (District 2); Keith Doades and John Heaton (District 3).
2014: Chuck Freeby, Steve Hanlon and Bob Nagle (District 1); Danny Danielson and Charlie Hughes (District 2); Andy Graham and Johnny McCrory (District 3).
2015: Tommy Schoegler and Bob Stambazze (District 1); Mark Morrow and Kyle Neddenriep (District 2); Bryce Kendrick (District 3).
2016: John Dillman and Jerry Hoover (District 1); Dan Repass and Bill Uhrig (District 2); Kevin Smith (District 3).
2017: Phil Gardner and Mike Lightfoot (District 1); John Grimes and Paul Patterson (District 2); Bob Bridge (District 3).
2018: Wayne Kreiger (District 1); Terry Downham (District 2); Walt Raines (District 3).
2019: Bill Walker (District 1); Charlie Hall (District 2); Larry Goffinet (District 3).
2020: Jim Peters (District 1); Mike Carmin (District 2); Gordon Engelhardt (District 3).
2021: no winners named (winners from 2020 honored in 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic).
2022: Dan Vance (District 1); Randy Shields (District 2); Andy Amey (District 3).
2023: Roger Grossman (District 1); Denise McClanahan (District 2); Mike Lopresti (District 3).
Virgil Sweet bio
Virgil Sweet has been a part of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association since the group’s inception and an award is named after him. However, not everyone may recall what an outstanding coach Sweet was for 20 years at Valparaiso High School.
Sweet, who currently lives in Florida, will turn 96 on April 27.
A 1945 graduate of Covington High School, Sweet played basketball on a team that reached the Indianapolis Semi-State and lost 39-38 to Rushville as a senior. He initially went to Butler and played one year of football for Tony Hinkle, then transferred to Eastern Illinois and played football and baseball for the Panthers. He graduated from EIU in 1950 and later earned a master’s degree from Indiana University.
Sweet began his basketball coaching career as an assistant coach to Don Reichert for one season at Covington. Sweet became varsity coach for three seasons at Westville (Ill.) before moving to Valparaiso as the varsity coach from 1954-74. His Vikings won 296 games over those 20 seasons, going 48-6 in sectional contests, claiming 14 sectional titles – including 11 in a row – and twice reached the final eight of the state tournament.
In 23 seasons as a varsity coach, including the three years at Westville, Sweet’s teams won 342 games.
Sweet’s teams at Valparaiso were noted for their excellent free-throw shooting, largely because of 20-step system that became known as the “Valparaiso Free-Throw Method.” His 1963-64 squad shot .792 for the season, then a national high school record. He coached two high school All-Americans, 54 players who played college basketball and 16 players who became coaches. Sweet was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.
After retiring as a coach, Sweet was chairman of the Valparaiso physical education department and served as the IBCA executive director from 1977 through 1984 after assisting Marion Crawley with the group for a year. He then retired from teaching and moved to Florida, where he has had a tremendously successful second career in real estate.
Sweet’s wife of 47 years, Paralee, passed away in 1999. They had two daughters, Shari and Sandy, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.