Evansville Agogans

Also see: Sports in Evansville.

The Evansville Agogans were a professional basketball team who played in Evansville, Indiana, in 1951 and were a member of the Western Division of the National Professional Basketball League.

Evansville Agogans
LeagueNational Professional Basketball League 1951
Team historyEvansville Agogans
Based inEvansville, Indiana
ArenaEvansville Central High School Stadium (Current downtown Evansville YMCA Stadium)
OwnerBill Butterfield
Head coachGene Latham


The National Basketball Association contracted after the 1949–1950 season, losing six teams: The Anderson Packers, Sheboygan Red Skins and Waterloo Hawks jumped to the NPBL, while the Chicago Stags, Denver Nuggets and St. Louis Bombers folded. The league went from 17 teams to 11 before the 1950–1951 season started. Midway through the 1950–1951 season, the Washington Capitols folded as well, bringing the number of teams in the league down to ten.[1]

The National Professional Basketball League was formed around the former NBA teams, with teams added in new larger markets. The charter teams were the East Division: Sheboygan Redskins (Former NBA), Anderson Packers (Former NBA), Louisville Alumnites and Grand Rapids Hornets. West Division: Denver Refiners/Evansville Agogans, Saint Paul Lights, Kansas City Hi-Spots and Waterloo Hawks (Former NBA). [2]

The franchise started the season as the Denver Refiners, but they had difficulty in financing the team's long trips to all its eastern and midwestern counterparts. Bill Butterfield, an office supply store manager in Evansville, bought the franchise and moved it to Indiana in January 1951. Butterfield gave the squad the unusual new name of Agogans, apparently derived from the word "agog", meaning "intense interest and excitement."

The Agogans (coached by Gene Latham) featured former local high school athletes (including Butterfield's son Bill) and others from the local Evansville Bosse High School state championship team. The team did feature a few players with professional experience (including Blackie Towery, who played for the Ft. Wayne Pistons in the 1940s), but it wasn't enough, as Evansville lost all six of its regular-season contests, by an average of 22 points. (They did manage a 66–59 win over the famed Harlem Globetrotters in an exhibition game.)[3][4]

The team and league folded after 1951. Evansville would not be home to another professional basketball team until the Evansville Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association was formed in 1984.

The arenaEdit

Games were played at the Evansville Central High School gym, now home to the downtown Evansville YMCA.

Notable alumniEdit

  • Norm McCool
  • Ollie Shoaf


  1. ^ "1949-50 NBA Season Summary". Basketball-Reference.com.
  2. ^ "1950 National Professional Basketball League (NPBL) Standings on StatsCrew.com". www.statscrew.com.
  3. ^ "1950 Evansville Agogans Roster on StatsCrew.com". www.statscrew.com.
  4. ^ "1950 Evansville Agogans Game-by-Game Results on StatsCrew.com". www.statscrew.com.