John Hollis holds the distinction of being the only Case basketball player to score over 1,000 points. Hollis played for Case Institute of Technology over 50 years ago when there was no shot clock or three-point line.
"I know from talking to other alums and basketball people in Cleveland that Mr. Hollis could have played anywhere and for anyone," said current Case Western Reserve University Head Basketball Coach Sean McDonnell. "That may seem like a bold statement, but that was back in an era when teams like Case Tech played teams like Ohio State."
It is impossible to compare Hollis, a graduate of Case Tech (1955) and local Cathedral Latin High School, with athletes from a different era, like Case's current all-time leading scorer senior forward Carson Oren (1,461 pts.), but he is no doubt one of the best players in University history.
Hollis scored 1,170 points during his four-year career as a Rough Rider, a mark that stood as the school record until 1972. He scored 421 points in his senior year alone, accounting for one-third of his team's points. Hollis's highest single game total was 48-points against Mt. Union his final season. He ended his collegiate career playing with the 1955 College All-Star team that took on the Harlem Globetrotters in an exhibition game.
"The thing of significance regarding the point total is that I don't think we ever came close to a 20-game season (this year's team will play 25)," explained Hollis. "It was nice to make points, but it's nicer to win games. We didn't set the world on fire, but we never had a losing record."
One loss that Hollis, a local Gates Mills resident, remembers to this day was to the other University on the block, the Red Cats of WRU.
"We beat them (WRU) seven out of eight times and the one I wanted most we lost," said Hollis. "It was the last game my senior year and they beat us. They were good, playing in the MAC (Mid America Conference) at the time, but I think our coach Nip Heim had them psyched out."
Hollis, who is now 72-years old, graduated with a degree in engineering from Case Tech and went on to establish his own engineering firm, John Hollis and Associates. The office remains open today in nearby Willoughby Hills under the watchful eye of its founder.
"I wanted to be an engineer from the time I was 14 years old," said Hollis. "I liked then what I do today, to tinker with things."
Case Western Reserve University will honor Hollis and all alumni from CIT, Western Reserve University and Mather College, February 3-5, by hosting a Throwback Weekend in old Adelbert Gymnasium, the former home of WRU.
On Friday night (Feb. 3) Case players will don Mather (women – 6:00 p.m.) and WRU (men – 8:00 p.m.) uniforms as they take on New York University and on Sunday afternoon Case players will wear CIT (men – 1:00 p.m.) and Mather (women – 3:00 p.m.) uniforms while hosting Brandeis University.
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON … John Hollis' son Dave, also played basketball in University Circle at Case Western Reserve University for legendary Head Coach Bill Sudeck.The younger Hollis graduated in 1985. "I remember Coach Sudeck called me the night of his first game," said Hollis. "He asked 'What was your number? I want to give it to David.' It was pretty touching."
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