Submitted by: Bob Miller

I’d like to acknowledge and thank the individuals who contributed photos and memories to this article.  If I failed to cite credit, I apologize.  The Portage Library was a great source of material, specifically for the 1968/9 time frame and again in the 1971-4 years.  The reading room has bound newspapers and would be an excellent source of material for anyone wanting to research other topics of the Portage Community through the years.

Thanks to the Portage Community Historical Society for their support of my efforts to document youth sports in the Portage Community in the 60/70s.  I’m very thankful to my late father, Wayne F. Miller, who documented youth sports in the 60s/70s.  While writing this, I had many great moments remembering him taking the photos, developing the film, writing the stories for the local papers.  I can still hear the sound of that old typewriter, which my brother Owen still has.  Thanks to all of those who provided me encouragement while working on this, especially my peers who provided me with their memories of hoops at the various gyms in Portage.

Finally, the inspiration for me to write this historical article was threefold.

  • The 1st is my Dad, my first coach and my hero growing up.
  • The 2nd, is Bud Samuel, the League’s first President and a driving force behind the League becoming viable, as evidenced by the 61st season this year.  My Dad, looked up to Bud as his mentor, including when my Dad and others were starting Portage Pop Warner in 1967.
  • The 3rd, the adults I grew up around in Biddy Basketball.  There are too many to name, but looking at the standings sheets/photos from the 60s included in this article, I see many names who I know made a difference in my classmates/peers lives by their coaching of youth basketball.  They shared their knowledge of basketball and just as important, their time.  This article is a tribute to all of these gentleman and their wives/families that supported them to make a difference in the Portage Community.