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Happy 60th anniversary of the Milan Miracle

MILAN, Ind. (Joe Webb) -- For the last 60 years, March 20th has meant a lot more than the beginning of spring in Milan, Indiana. 

It's the day everything changed when little Milan knocked off big Muncie Central 32-30 in the finals.  Pat Marshall was an Indians cheerleader.  Gene White was the starting center.

Pat Marshall said, "How the field house just erupted.  I mean it just went wild.  It was so exciting."

"Came back the next day and the town's full of people.  Later we saw it was estimated 30,000. Cars were backed up 7-10 miles," White said.

We talked Thursday in the converted bank that is now home to the Milan '54 Hoosiers Museum.  Named in part for the 1986 movie based on the 1954 season.  The movie "Hoosiers" often tops the list of best sports movies. 

Milan's win is commonly referred to as the biggest sports story in Indiana history.  The Milan Miracle was a timeless David vs. Goliath story.  Muncie Central had 1,600 students.  Milan 160. 

But both schools could only put 5 on the floor.  Milan's Bobby Plump clinched the MVP award with his game winning 15-footer with 3 seconds left.

"If I'd missed it I sure wouldn't be sitting here talking to you," Plump said.
Plump says the real Milan Miracle is how the win raised the bar.  Four of the five starters got college scholarships.  It changed attitudes for all Milan grads.

"Maybe in 4 years, 18-19 total when to college.  In 4 years.  Of the 30 in my graduating class 17 of us went to college," said White.

60 years later the paint may be fading and the memories may be a little grainier but the message is still crystal clear: No matter how little you are you can go big and go home a winner. 

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