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January 9, 2013

MORRIS: Harvey says he deserved championship ring

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I still remember the fall of 1975 like it was yesterday.

As a freshman on the New Albany soccer team, I had dressed varsity the entire season. I didn’t play enough quarters to earn a letter, but I got in a few games and learned from a roster full of upperclassmen. While the sport was in its infancy at the school [began in 1971], that team had so much talent.

And while the hicks from the southern half of the state weren’t suppose to know much about soccer, that team knew enough to advance to the Indiana Soccer Association Final Four at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium that year. The sport was not yet sanctioned by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

After beating Westview in a penalty kick shootout in the state semifinals, our team cruised to the state championship beating Lalumiere 5-0 in the final. It was a memorable event.

However, I was not part of it. Coach Jim Dickman decided to let a senior who was not on the varsity dress in my place for the finals. He was a senior, had stuck with the program, and the coach wanted him to enjoy the experience.

At the time I remember not being the happiest camper at NAHS. But I understand now ... I was not a regular and had three more years. The senior was in his last rodeo. However, while I understood it, I never felt part of the team. I was not in the championship team picture and while I have a ring, I never wore it because I never felt like I earned it.

Dave Harvey’s situation is similar, but unlike me, Harvey said he earned a state championship ring and has been waiting 40 years to receive it.

Harvey was mainly a junior varsity basketball player at New Albany High School in 1973. However, Harvey did dress some varsity games during the season along with fellow junior Greg Cornelius and sophomore Steve Miller.

At the end of the season, the three were asked to remain with the varsity squad for practice as the team prepared for the tournament. The three were considered alternates and did everything the other 12 players did except dress for the tournament games.

As it turned out, it was quite a ride as the Bulldogs captured the state championship. As a reward, each player received a championship ring — except for Harvey, Cornelius and Miller. And for the past 40 years, he has been waiting for what he calls an injustice to be made right.

“I just feel like we deserved one,” Harvey said. “Maybe that sounds selfish, I don’t know. But I have been trying for 40 years to find out what happened.”  

While Harvey said there is no way he can get an exact ring that the players received in 1973, he said he would appreciate any kind of ring with 1973 state champions engraved in it.

He said he has talked to Cornelius, who lives in Jerusalem and he said he would “gladly” return to New Albany if he was to be recognized with a ring. The third player, Miller, was killed with the other members of the University of Evansville basketball team in a 1977 plane crash.

Harvey has also contacted New Albany High School and is hoping the athletic department or adult boosters fix the injustice and purchase three rings to give to the alternates.

He said the three earned the rings.

“I have people ask me to show them my ring and I have to tell them I didn’t get one. I’m not mad at anyone, I just think we should have gotten a championship ring,” he said. “I don’t know how many rings were issued. I just think it was a big oversight because everyone was so excited after the win.”

He said he would proudly wear a ring if he receives one.

“That was a memorable run. I just think it’s only right that the three of us are recognized for being part of it,” he said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of New Albany’s 1973 state basketball championship.

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