Tony Hinkle

Tony Hinkle (1899-1992)

Teams coached: Butler Bulldogs
Butler record: 558-394 (.586)
Overall record: 558-394 (.586)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  1  (1962)
  • NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen: (1962)
  • NCAA Tournament Final Four:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  2  (1958, 1959)
  • MAC Regular Season Champion:  1  (1947)
  • Missouri Valley Regular Season Champion:  2  (1933, 1934)
  • ICC (Div II) Regular Season Champion:  5  (1952, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1962)


  • NABC Golden Anniversary Award (1986)
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 1965)
  • National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (inducted 2006)

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1945-1970 Butler
1926-1942 Butler

Tony Hinkle Facts

  • Paul David Hinkle
  • Born December 19, 1899
  • Died September 22, 1992
  • Hometown: Logansport, Indiana
  • Alma Mater: University of Chicago (BA, 1921)
  • The Indiana-native attended Calumet HS in Chicago and then played at the University of Chicago, then a member of the Big Ten
    • Was a three-sport star for the Maroons (football, basketball & baseball)
    • Got his nickname “Tony” from coach Pat Page, due to Hinkle’s habit of eating spaghetti and meatballs before games
    • Twice All-Big Ten and All-American on the basketball court and part of the 1920 Big Ten championships team
  • In 1921, Hinkle made his way to Butler to be the head baseball coach, starting a 71-year relationship with the school
    • Coached three sports at various times, served as a teacher and for many years was the athletic director
    • Primarily remembered for being the Bulldogs’ head basketball coach, serving in this role for 41 seasons
      • Went 558-394 and won three conference titles (note: Butler was an Independent for much of Hinkle’s tenure, but had an affiliation with the Indiana Collegiate Conference that resulted in five more conference titles)
      • Reached the NIT in 1958 and 1959 and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1962 (the program’s first ever NCAA berth)
      • In 1966, the school re-named Butler Fieldhouse as Hinkle Fieldhouse
        • Built in 1928, the arena has long been the home of Indiana high school state championships
        • Known as “Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral,” the Fieldhouse was featured in the classic 1986 film Hoosiers (based on the 1954 ‘Milan Miracle’ that culminated in the arena in real life)
    • Served as head baseball coach from 1921-28, 1933-41 and 1946-70 (39 seasons)
      • Went 335-309-5 during his various tenures as the Bulldogs’ baseball coach
    • Served as head football coach in 1926 and from 1935-41 and 1946-69 (31 seasons)
      • Had an overall record of 183-104-16 with the football team, winning 17 Indiana Intercollegiate Conference titles
      • Also spent two years coaching the Great Lakes Navy team (North Chicago, IL) during WWII (18-5-3 record)
    • Was Butler’s athletic director for 40 years (1926-27 and 1931-70)
  • Stayed at Butler after his mandatory 1970 retirement (at age 70), named special assistant to the university president
    • Hinkle was a fixture around the program for the rest of his life
  • Outside of coaching, Hinkle was influential for the sport of basketball as a whole
    • He helped introduce the three-second rule and worked with Spalding to introduce the first orange basketballs at the 1958 NCAA Tournament in Louisville
      • The balls were generally brown before then, but Hinkle thought orange would be easier for players and fans to see
  • For his influence on basketball, Hinkle was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965 and the inaugural 2006 class of National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
    • Also a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (1964) and Indiana Football Hall of Fame (1970)
  • Passed away in 1992 at the age of 93; buried alongside his wife, Jane (1907-1959)
    • Survived by his and Jane’s two daughters

Tony Hinkle Coaching Tree