Life After the Big Game
With the Lakers blasting off toward their NBA destiny, we got to wondering what became of that other team of destiny, the Hickory Huskers, which Gene Hackman coached to an Indiana state championship in the 1986 sleeper hit “Hoosiers.”
Save for David Neidorf, the roster was made up of amateur thesps, picked by director David Anspaugh from 600 candidates for their ability to look natural and play ball.
Wade Schenck, 20 (played Ollie, the blond mite whose free throws win the sectional): Passed on acting. “Naw, there are too many guys out there who can’t get acting jobs. I wouldn’t have much of a chance.” So he’s a farmer now.
Maris Valainis, 24 (the lanky shooter who scored the winning hoop): Landed a role in Brian De Palma’s Sean Penn/Michael J. Fox starrer “Casualties of War,” shooting in Thailand.
Brad Boyle, 21 (Whit, a laid-back guy who didn’t stir things up): Finishing Ball State U in Muncie, says his mom. “He’s very adventuresome,” she says, “but we encouraged him to finish his schooling.”
Kent Poole, 23 (Merle): Signed with an Indianapolis agency, does regional commercials around his farming chores. Also snared a part in Anspaugh’s upcoming “Fresh Horses,” starring Molly Ringwald.
Scott Summers, 20 (the preacher’s son who prayed at all the time-outs): After lotsa phone calls, we just couldn’t locate this guy, though Poole told us he kept in contact with him for a year after shooting. Didn’t pursue an acting career in the least.
Steve Hollar, 21 (played the team rebel and ball hog who was yanked out of a game by coach Hackman for screwing around): Studies dentistry and (of course) plays ball at DePauw University--but still auditions on occasion. “There were quite a few agents around at the time we were shooting and I signed with one, though I think the Steve Hollar file is still buried in their filing cabinet,” he joked.
Brad Long, 25 (loudmouth Buddy, who quit when Hackman kicked him out of a practice--and later returned): An Indianapolis sales rep by day, he still aspires to act. “If I were 17 instead of 23 (when “Hoosiers” came along), I think I would have run out to Hollywood and tried my luck. But being older, I’ve been able to keep it in perspective.” Long has done a handful of commercials aired in the Midwest, and he says he came close to grabbing a role in ABC’s cop series, “Ohara.”