Who was the best basketball player in Montgomery County history . . . Daryl Warren, Homer Stonebraker, Howie Williams, Don Threlkeld, or maybe Ray, Bill, or Keith Greve? There were several other great players, too, but one name is always mentioned...Charlie Bowerman, who graduated from little Alamo High School in 1957.
As a guard for the Warriors, Charlie was the ultimate ballplayer. He led the county in scoring during both his junior and senior years, averaging 21.6 and 27.0 respectively, and he was named to both the County and Sectional tourney teams. In 1957 the Warriors, with Charlie's father, Tom Bowerman, as coach, finished with a record of 19-2 and won the County tourney with relative ease. In a game that year against Richland Township, Alamo defeated the Fountain county champs 62 to 45, and Charlie scored 45 points . . . the same amount as the entire opposing team! He was named as the outstanding senior athlete that year by the county coaches association.
To the delight of all local fans, Charlie headed to Wabash College to further his education and continue his basketball career. As a member of the freshman team, Charlie averaged 23 points a game (freshmen could not play on the varsity in those days). During his three years on the Little Giant varsity, Charlie led the team in scoring all three years. His shooting was deadly from every angle, and anything within 30 feet of the basket was a high percentage shot. He also canned a phenomenal 86 percent of his free throw chances.
My Dad took me to a Wabash / Butler game when I was about 11 years old. In what is considered one of the most exciting games in Indiana collegiate history, Wabash beat Butler 110 to 108 in FIVE overtimes, and Charlie drilled in 53 points. I was amazed, and I wanted to meet him. I got my chance a few weeks later when I spotted Charlie sitting in the bleachers at a Crawfordsville high school game. I was so excited to meet the "Wizard of Alamo" and obtain his autograph!
During Charlie's senior year, he averaged 25.4 points a game, and set a new single game scoring record with 63 points against the University of Illinois (Chicago branch) . . . without playing the entire 40 minutes! Now you must recall that there was no such thing as 3-point baskets in those days. Charlie was again named team MVP, and was also selected by the UPI and AP as an All-American honorable mention. Pro scouts wanted Charlie, and he was drafted as an early round pick by the New York Knicks of the NBA.
But Charlie had other plans. He decided upon a business career with the Phillips Petroleum Company, which allowed him to also play for the famous AAU Phillips 66ers. From 1961 to 1964, this team won two AAU national championships, participated in the World Games in Rio de Janeiro, went on an all-star tour to several countries . . . and Charlie played in the 1964 Olympic trials. Charlie was selected as an AAU All-American during his final year before entering the professional ranks in the North American Basketball League. As his basketball career came to a close, Charlie became a successful executive with the Phillips Company in Oklahoma, where he still resides today after retirement.
Well, that's Charlie Bowerman . . . one of the greatest . . . and one of my boyhood idols! . . . and one interesting note I might add . . . In that Wabash / Butler five-overtime game, there were four other Montgomery County boys playing . . . Dick Haffner (New Ross) and Dick Haslam (Crawfordsville) for Butler . . . and Bill Boone (Ladoga) and Rusty Nichols (New Ross) for Wabash . . . with Rusty making the winning basket . . . WOW!!!

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history. He writes a general column that appears in The Paper on Fridays and a local sports column on Tuesdays.