Norman Dale
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Norman Dale

Hoosiers

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About Him

Living… in 1950s Hickory, Indiana, a town obsessed with basketball. It's a small town but a high-pressure situation for Dale, the new high school basketball coach. He’s a complete unknown in the area, and people don’t know much about his past coaching successes – or failures.

Profession… basketball coach and teacher. He doesn’t just teach his players how to win on the court, but how to work hard, how to overcome stiff odds, and how to be good young men. It’s an old-fashioned and demanding method, but if it takes root it can be a very powerful one.

Relationship Status… single, butinterested in Hickory history teacher Myra Fleener. There's undeniable chemistry, but she thinks the boys on the team should focus more on academics than basketball. Of course, that makes her an outlier in basketball-crazy Hickory. Maybe these two outsiders can come together yet.

Challenge… recruiting Jimmy Chitwood to join the team. Dale is already short on players and Chitwood is an artist on the court. At least he was an artist, but that was under the last coach, with whom Chitwood felt a deep connection. If Jimmy refuses to play, Hickory might vote Dale out of his job despite the season being barely underway. And even with Jimmy’s terrific jump shot, the Hickory squad seems miles away from championship caliber.

Personality… hard-working and extremely passionate about his unorthodox methods. Dale refuses to change his fundamentals-first coaching tactics even when the whole town starts to hate him – which doesn’t take long. He's a man of his convictions who fights for what he believes in. He even hires the town drunk, Shooter Flatch, as an assistant coach, despite the fact that every dad in Hickory would kill for that job. Dale believes it's the right move for his team and for Shooter, whose son plays for the team, and Dale sticks by it. But Dale’s team is going to have to start winning some games, and very soon, for him to last in Hickory.

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