Every so often, a team comes along that captures the hearts, minds, and imagination of fans and the public. For New Carlisle, that team was the 1940 New Carlisle High School (NCHS) Tigers Basketball team.
At a time when local families were very slowly recovering from the Great Depression, the scrappy NCHS team of local boys took home the Ohio Division II High School Basketball Championship Trophy, beating out Ohio’s other 899 Division II teams. It remains the only Boys’ Basketball State Championship won by New Carlisle Local Schools and the subsequent New Carlisle-Bethel and Tecumseh Local School Districts.
The last surviving member of that local Dream Team, Leonard Kouse, will be appearing at the New Carlisle Historical Society’s meeting on May 17 to share stories and answer questions about the team. The meeting is open to the public. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Avenue Retirement Village in New Carlisle.
Kouse was a senior when his team won the title. He went on to play basketball semi-professionally until he answered the call to serve in World War II. Later in life, Kouse was instrumental in helping form the New Carlisle Historical Society and served as its first President.
New Carlisle Historical Society President, David McWhorter, says the evening should be extremely entertaining. “Mr. Kouse is 96 years old and he is as sharp as ever. He has some great stories to share. It should be really interesting!”
McWhorter says a personal meeting with Kouse has inspired him to nominate the 1940 NCHS Championship Basketball Team for induction into the Tecumseh Local Schools’ Hall of Fame.
McWhorter says as far as he knows, no team has ever been inducted into the Tecumseh Arrows’ Hall of Fame. “The 1940 Basketball team deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. (They) won against overwhelming odds...the team is an important part of Tecumseh’s history and should be honored for what it accomplished,” says McWhorter.