Monday, December 28, 2015

50. The Legendary Coach Forney and Basketball in 1946

In January of 1946, George Forney returned to Gettysburg High School, after serving in the Navy during World War II. He immediately reassumed his duties coaching the basketball team which finished the season winning seventeen games and losing only three.

In 1946, basketball was a very different game than fans watch today. First, we dressed differently. We wore black high top sneakers, belted short shorts, sleeveless jerseys tucked into our shorts and black leather kneepads which no one wears today. 

The free throw lane, or key, was only six feet wide in 1946. There was no three point shooting, and there was no shot clock which meant a team could freeze the ball forever. The result was a game which emphasized defense more than teams do today. 

When George Forney returned as coach in January of 1946, his team averaged 41 points a game and their opponents averaged only 29! In a conference game that season Gettysburg beat Waynesboro 45 to 6 which suggests that Waynesboro didn’t score a goal in at least one period.

The freewheeling style of basketball we know as “run and gun” was never practiced while Nancy and I were at Gettysburg High School.

George Forney coached football, basketball and track at Gettysburg until his retirement in 1973. He is  a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and the current gymnasium at the high school bears his name. He died in 1993 at the age of 95.

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