Hollen, Sears Sprinkle join TC Hall of Fame

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By Larry Goffinet

TELL CITY—A four-sport coach and two four-sport stars have been elected to the Tell City High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Ivan Hollen, Nick Sears and Jim Sprinkle will be inducted into the hall at a banquet at Tell City’s cafeteria 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19. They will also be honored at halftime of Tell City’s boys basketball game with Heritage Hills that night.

Hollen, who will be inducted posthumously, coached basketball, football, baseball and track at Tell City from 1939 to 1950, with three years off (1942-45) to serve in the Navy during World War II .

He compiled a 141-48 record (.746 winning percentage) as the Marksmen’s basketball coach with five sectional titles and a winning record every year.

His victory total is second in school history to Bob Lochmueller’s 257, and his eight years as the Marksmen’s boys basketball coach is the third longest tenure in school history behind Lochmueller’s 15 years and Maurice Harpenau’s 11 years.

Hollen coached the Marksmen to their second and last undefeated regular season in 1949-50, when they were 23-0 before losing in the regional.

 He also compiled a winning record every year in football, going 50-15-2 for a .761 winning percentage.

His best record in that sport was 8-1 in 1949. There was no state football playoff system then.

Sears made All-Big Eight Conference in football, wrestling and track as a senior in the 1995-96 school year. He is the last Tell City athlete to make all-conference in three sports in one school year and one of only three to do so in the last 45 years.

He started for Tell City’s varsity boys tennis team as a freshman and sophomore but then switched to football his junior season at the urging of classmate Mike Mahoney, a tight end and linebacker on the team.

Despite never having played the game, Sears rushed for over 1,000 yards that season.

The next year he rushed for 1,963 yards, a school record that still stands.

In wrestling Sears helped the Marksmen win their second sectional title in 1996. He broke Tell City’s career records for most wins and most takedowns, though both have since been surpassed.

But he made his biggest mark in track. As a senior he won three sectional events (setting two sectional records) and placed second in his other event.

He still holds Tell City’s school records in the 300-meter low hurdles and 1600 relay and is second on the Marksmen’s all-time honor roll in the 110 high hurdles and high jump.

He went on to run for Indiana University, where he placed as high as fifth in the Big Ten Conference in high hurdles.

Sprinkle, a 1965 Tell City graduate, starred in football, basketball, baseball and track for the Marksmen.

A football halfback, he set a school record that still stands with an average of 9.5 yards per carry (1,080 yards on 114 carries) as a junior.

He averaged 8.2 yards per carry as a junior and 7.4 yards per carry as a sophomore and had an 8.3-yards-per-carry average for his career.

He made the junior all-state team in 1963 and All-Southern Indiana Athletic Conference in 1963 and ’64.

A baseball outfielder, he led Southern Indiana in hitting as a junior. In track he advanced to the regional finals in low hurdles.

He went on to be a four-year football starter for Western Kentucky Univer-sity, playing defensive back as a freshman and running back the next three years. He also returned punts and kickoffs for the Hilltoppers.