HOOSIERS – MILAN VS. MUNCIE: 1954 INDIANA STATE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Milan High School, enrollment 161, defeated the favored Bearcats of Muncie Central, 32‑30, to win the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship. Plump’s shot with three seconds left cemented the Milan Indians’ place in Indiana basketball history. No school its size had ever won the state title before that March 20 game and no school that small ever would again. The Indians’ feat became known as the “Miracle of Milan” and was later the inspiration for the 1986 movie Hoosiers.
Following the 1954 championship game, veteran referees Cyril “Cy” Birge and Marvin Todd had no idea how significant the last‑second upset they had just officiated was or would become to Indiana basketball and the state. “When the game was over, of course, we went straight to our dressing room, which was underneath Butler Fieldhouse (now Hinkle Fieldhouse),” said Birge, 88, from his home in Jasper, Ind. “We could hear them celebrating up above. We knew a big school got beat by a small school, but we didn’t think anything of it. That happens every once in a while. We just got dressed and went home. Then later on it mushroomed. People still talk about it yet and how many years has it been?”
It’s been 50 years since those two veteran referees patrolled the biggest upset in Indiana history. Todd, who passed away several years ago, was a longtime high school basketball official from Fort Wayne, Ind. Birge officiated basketball 34 years as a high school referee and worked as a college official from 1941 to 1970, including nine years in the Big 10. Both officials had twice been assigned to state prior to 1954.