Publisher Donna remembered for contributions to Indiana basketball

Garry Donna, the longtime editor and publisher of Hoosier Basketball magazine who died Sunday, is being remembered as a passionate advocate for high school hoops who “helped shape Hoosier Hysteria.”

garry donnaGarry Donna

Donna, 73, published Hoosier Basketball for 46 years before retiring last year. The annual publication provides previews for every boys and girls high school basketball program in the state, as well as features on the state’s college and professional teams.

National publication AdWeek on Monday said Indiana had lost "one of its biggest cheerleaders" for high school basketball.

He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

“Pacers Sports & Entertainment joins the Indiana basketball world in offering heartfelt condolences to family of Garry Donna who, for many decades, was one of state's greatest ambassadors of the game we all know and love,” the parent company of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever said in a written statement. “Garry helped shape Hoosier Hysteria in our state, and was a frequent guest at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. A friend and a colleague of many at PS&E, Garry Donna will be missed."

A graduate of Indianapolis Cathedral High School and Butler University, Donna bought Hoosier Basketball in 1970 for $2,600, acquiring it from former Indianapolis Star columnist Tom Keating after just one issue had been published.

He built it into a staple of Indiana basketball before announcing last summer that he was stepping down as publisher and handing the reins to longtime assistant Kip Wesner.

In addition to his involvement in basketball, Donna built or purchased and operated Putt-Putt courses in Columbus, Anderson, Kokomo, Terre Haute, Bloomington, Richmond, Mooresville, Lafayette, Muncie, Richmond and Merrillville for several decades.

He also owned Kokomo Raceway for more than 20 years.  

Donna was former president of the Indiana Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and a recipient of the organization's Joe Baland Award for service to sports in Indiana.

“Garry Donna’s impact on basketball in Indiana was immeasurable,” Indianapolis high school sports reporter Kyle Neddenriep said on Twitter. “He was an Indiana HS basketball institution.”

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