Cass County native Carl McNulty still holds an impressive record for Purdue basketball and it wasn’t lost on Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel.
Doyel wrote a column earlier this week on McNulty holding the record for rebounds in a game with 27 and the fact that current Purdue player Caleb Swanigan has a good chance of breaking it seemingly every time he steps on the court. The column is available at IndyStar.com.
McNulty played high school basketball at Washington Township High School, which now feeds in to Lewis Cass.
McNulty’s sister Marilyn Hile now lives in Deer Creek in Carroll County about nine miles from the county line. Carl now has a winter home in Florida but also has a home in Kokomo.
McNulty was a 1948 Washington Township grad. McNulty only lost seven games his junior and senior seasons for the Washington Township Hatchets, whose colors were royal and old gold. His senior class had 18 students.
Both years his squads were defeated by Logansport in sectional play. His sister well recalls how one of those games ended in the Berry Bowl.
“I can remember Logan beat them when a guy held on to the back of Carl’s trunks and he couldn’t make the winning play at the end,” Hile said with a laugh.
Hile recalled the Washington Township gym was an old gym that was always packed, just like the old Berry Bowl always was for sectional time.
“It was just an old gym. After he left they built a new gym,” Hile said of Washington Township High School, which was located just south of Logansport. “When he was there it was the old gym.”
McNulty stood at 6-foot-3 but with his long arms and jumping ability he played much bigger. He played forward at Purdue and set his rebounding record in a game against Minnesota in 1951.
“I don’t know how the coach at Purdue knew about Carl coming from such a little school,” said Hile, who is two years younger than McNulty, who turns 87 next week.
“He had no idea he’d go to college. We’re just holding our breath the kid doesn’t break it. It’s a 66-year old record.”
There’s also a fascinating story of McNulty playing one game in the NBA but not getting paid for it in the column.
McNulty was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. He was twice the Boilermaker MVP and was All-Big Ten as a senior. For a time he held single-game and single-season scoring records. He won Purdue’s Gimlet Award one year as the school’s outstanding athlete. He earned Helms and Converse All-American honors.
He had a 413-277 record as a high school coach, with 21 winning seasons. In his 18 years at Kokomo High School from 1968-86, he had a record of 256-172 (.598) and won 13 sectional titles.
He also had quite a career as a fastpitch softball pitcher and was inducted into the Indiana Softball Hall of Fame in 2010. He’s also a member of the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame and in 2010 was also enshrined in Purdue’s athletic hall in the same class as legendary coach Gene Keady.