First floor of Davies Center, UW-Eau Claire
Eau Claire Firehouse
202 Gibson Street, Eau Claire
The Volume One Gallery
Located inside the Local Store at the Volume One World Headquarters, 205 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire
by Tom Giffey
You may not think of the Chippewa Valley as some kind of basketball mecca, but we certainly have our high points.
Eau Claire is often considered a baseball town, but during the Ken Anderson era, Eau Claire was home to a small-college basketball powerhouse. Anderson coached the UW-Eau Claire men’s basketball team from 1968-95, leading them to a 631-152 record. His teams won 14 conference titles and reached the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tourney 15 times (where they were runners-up in 1972 and 1990). In 2012, the court at Zorn Arena was named in his honor.
Eau Claire has been no slouch when it comes to high school March Madness, either. In fact, between 1917 and 1962 – when Eau Claire’s second public high school, North High, opened – Eau Claire (later Memorial) High School went to the state boy’s basketball tournament 25 times. That’s still the third-highest figure in tournament history. During that time, ECHS won titles in 1917, 1927, and 1955.
The girl’s basketball team at little Fall Creek High School has established a strong legacy. Since the girl’s WIAA tournament began in 1976, Fall Creek has made 10 appearances at the Big Dance, behind only Cuba City and Janesville Parker. The Crickets brought home the gold trophy four times (1985, 1987, 1988, and 1996), puting them behind only Cuba City and Milwaukee Washington as all-time champs.
Bennett is best known among fans for leading the Wisconsin Badgers to the Final Four in 2000 (and for coaching UW-Green Bay and UW-Stevens Point). Before that college success, Bennett coached at Eau Claire Memorial for four seasons, leading the Olds Abes to the Class A title game in 1976. (They lost to South Milwaukee.)
Mickey Crowe may have played hoops for JFK Prep in Manitowoc County, but his ties to Eau Claire are strong: He’s lived here for decades and his late father, Marty, coached at Eau Claire Regis and Chippewa Falls McDonell. Crowe led the nation with 41.7 points per game in 1974-75 and remains No. 2 on the Wisconsin high school all-time scoring list. He is the subject of a recent biography, Over and Back – Mickey Crowe: The Strange and Troubled Life of a Wisconsin High School Basketball Legend.