Senior staff writer
Did you know that Beech Grove High School’s football program is just three wins from its 300th all-time victory? Did you know that Ben Davis played its first home football game under the lights in 1945? Did you know that legendary Southport boys basketball coach Carl “Blackie” Braden won the Marion County tourney with Warren Central one year before being hired as the Cardinals mentor?
Did you know there have been 19 football coaches at Beech Grove since 1939, and that Robert A. “Bob” Johnson is the winningest with 53 victories (1953-65)?
Did you know that Carmel did not have a football program from 1935-49? Those a just a few facts about central Indiana high school sports that lifelong Beech Grove native Jim Pich has found in his spare time as a sports historian.
Pich’s love for sports guides his research. “I’m going to continue to do it until I drop,” said Pich, 53, who has handled some public address chores for selected Beech Grove High School sports events since 2012.
“The research is authentic; I don’t make this stuff up.”
Friday night, longtime BGHS football and basketball announcer Steve Nontell and Pich were in the press box as the Hornets defeated Monrovia to move into second place in the Indiana Crossroads Conference. Nontell, with his vast knowledge of Hornets football, added to Pich’s expertise. Beech Grove has played Greenwood more times (56) than any other opponent. And programs that are recent powerhouses dot the Hornets’ history (won-loss records against BG): Avon (1-12), Ben Davis (2-4-1), Carmel (5-7-1), Center Grove (1-3) and Warren Central (1-4).
Pich enjoys high school football slightly more than other sports.
“My favorite sports season is when it occurs,” said Pich, who began researching Ben Davis football in 2010. “I do strictly high school sports research.”
Pich has relied on microfilm from three Indianapolis daily newspapers, various histories at Beech Grove, Central Library in Indianapolis and Terre Haute newspapers for early team histories. Research via computers has aided his recent research, which had been handwritten and is now done with spreadsheets.
His interest in sports began with a communications class at BGHS, where he graduated in 1984. He enjoyed video production, working mostly behind the scenes on audio and camera. He played freshman basketball, ran track and was on the speech team. He was a freshman class officer. His research of Ben Davis football led him to research the history of Indiana’s prolific Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, formed in 1996.
Pich recently completed his research on Edinburgh football and the boys basketball at Center Grove. He is working on an accurate history of Mid-State Conference football. His research has been used by area newspapers. He has two brothers and a sister who live in central Indiana.