Bill Menke Biography
William “Bill” Charles Menke was a former Indiana University basketball player that was part of the 1940 NCAA Championship team coached by head coach Branch McCracken. The Huntingburg, Indiana native played as a center for the Indiana Hoosiers. He and his brother Bob Menke were both part of the 1940 NCAA Championship team. In 1945, Bill Menke died in a plane crash while serving for the United States Navy during World War II.
- Name: William “Bill” Charles Menke
- Position: Center
- Nationality: USA
- Birthday: October 16, 1918
- Death: January 7, 1945 (Age: 26)
- Hometown: Huntingburg, Indiana
- High School: Huntingburg High School (Huntingburg, Indiana), Kemper Military School (Boonville, Missouri)
- Height: 6’3″ (191 cm)
- Seasons: 3 (1938-1939, 1939-1940, 1940-1941)
- Jersey: #23, #35
Awards and Accolades
- Third Team All-American (1940)
- NCAA Champion (1940)
- Outstanding Senior by Sigma Delta Chi (1941)
- Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (Inducted: 1988)
- Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame (Inducted: 2011)
Bill Menke Seasons with the Hoosiers
17-3 (9-3 Big Ten)
20-3 (9-3 Big Ten)
🏆 NCAA Champions
17-3 (10-2 Big Ten)
Bill Menke High School Career
Bill Menke was the leading scorer for Huntingburg High School during his final two years. He led the team to a sectional title over their rival team Jasper High School during his junior year. During his final season, Menke’s team had a final record of 20-4, but lost to Jasper with a final score of 17-16.
Bill Menke Indiana University Career
Bill Menke enrolled at Indiana University in 1937 as a freshman and he was recruited by head coach Branch McCracken. At Indiana University, Menke would go on to be a staple player. In 1939, Bill Menke’s 31-percent led the Hoosiers, considering Indiana had five players that shot below 20-percent.
At the center position, Bill Menke was used as the big man on the floor and he was known for his ability to shoot the ball one-handed, which made him difficult to guard by opposing players.
By the time he finished his career, he scored a total of 530 points, which set the new Indiana University career scoring record set by his then-head coach Branch McCracken when Branch was a player at Indiana University.
During Bill Menke’s senior year, he had the opportunity to share the 1940 NCAA Championship title with his younger brother Bob Menke. Bob Menke was named All-NCAA Tournament in 1940.
In February of 1941, Bill Menke received an award from Sigma Delta Chi for being the most Outstanding Senior. He was recognized by Professor Stempel with a key presentation.
Bill Menke’s Death
On January 7, 1945, Bill Menke passed away while serving in the United States Navy. He died in a plane crash during World War II.
Contributor: Rob Jiang