A former member of the Franklin College women’s basketball team will hit the court again, except on a larger stage in front of thousands of supporters.
As a member of the Franklin College Athletic Hall of Fame and Indiana’s first Miss Basketball, Judi Warren will be featured in the Pacers’ Hickory Series. The series, which kicked off last year, honors Indiana high school basketball players and their accomplishments.
During her high school career at Warsaw High School, Warren helped lead her team to the program’s first girls state championship. She also received the honor of being named the state’s first Miss Basketball title in 1976. More recently, the 1980 Franklin College graduate was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 for her high school record.
Senior Lauren DeSutter said it is important for women like Warren to have their hard work featured for everyone to recognize. DeSutter said it is players like Warren who have influenced her own basketball career.
“I have not had the pleasure of meeting Judi Warren, but I have learned a lot about her this year due to her being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” DeSutter said. “However, it is women like Judi Warren that inspired me to want to play basketball in the first place.”
Athletic Director Kerry Prather said the way Warren changed the sport of basketball for women is one of the reasons she should be featured in the Hickory Series.
“From a state wide perspective, she represents the evolution of women’s basketball at the high school level to finally a point of equity with the boys,” Prather said.
He added that with Warren’s help, the women’s basketball program became what it is today at Franklin College. He said many female student-athletes may have attended the school because she did.
During Warren’s college career, she posted 1,033 career points, placing her in the 13th position for the most points scored by a female basketball player at the college.
She also broke into three digits when she recorded 100 steals in one single season during the college’s 1976-77 season. Warren still holds the school’s record for steals during one season.
Although Warren was very talented on the court, it was not just her talent that earned her awards. Warren was also the first recipient of the Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude award. This award honors high school students who excel in leadership roles, basketball skills and mental attitude.
DeSutter said Warren’s attitude and personality, both on and off the court, are two of the many traits current basketball Franklin players can learn from her.
“I think that players can learn determination and positivity from Judi Warren,” DeSutter said. “Not too often does an athlete receive a high athletic award, alongside a Mental Attitude award. I am sure that Judi played with excellent determination and filled her teammates with positivity along the way.”
Warren also used her determination and confidence throughout her coachingcareer at Carmel, South Dearborn and Maconaquah High Schools. In 1995, she led Carmel High School to a runner-up finish in the state championship.
She is not the first Franklin College graduate to be honored in the Hickory Series. Last year, Franklin alumni Gene White and Roger Schroder were featured during the series’ inaugural season.
Warren will be honored during the Denver Nuggets game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 24 at 7 p.m.