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Co-Founder of Carmi Invitational Tournament Speaks to Kiwanis

Story submitted by Greg Grant of Carmi Kiwanis Club

The Carmi Kiwanis Club met on January 19. Club officer, Katelyne Wolff called the meeting to order. Lance Barbre introduced guest Kevin Wolff, Carmi-White County men’s basketball coach. Katelyne reminded the club that ideas for a Corn Day theme are due by February 15. Andrea Hayes was the winner of the 50/50 drawing.

The club will host its annual Pancake Day on Saturday, February 18, 7am-12:30pm, at Washington Middle School Cafeteria. The public can purchase $4 tickets in advance from any Kiwanian, or $5 tickets at the door. All proceeds assist Carmi community charities.

Club member Toby Brown introduced Coach Harold Poore, the guest speaker for the meeting. Poore was a longtime basketball coach and athletic director in Carmi. His 1975 basketball team is remembered as one of Carmi’s best. He stays active as a horse trainer and enthusiast. Coach Poore talked to the club about the history of the Carmi Invitational Tournament (CIT).

When the CIT started in 1980, Coach Poore had moved from the coach’s bench to the athletic director’s chair. Originally Carmi and Fairfield were to cohost the tournament, alternating each year between the two schools. However, the tournament never left Carmi. Over the years the tournament has hosted a variety of schools using multiple formats from brackets to pool play to round-robin. Carmi and Fairfield are the only two schools to play in every CIT.

Poore reminisced about the tournaments that preceded the CIT, like the Quad City Tournament. He talked about the schools that once comprised The Little Ten Conference. He spoke about the time Lawrenceville coach Ron Felling came to the CIT as well as different referees and rule changes over the years.

One unique part of the CIT has always been the quality of the “Hospitality Room.” Coach Poore’s wife, Rose, was famed throughout the region for having the best “Hospitality Room” featuring home-cooked meals. The CIT has hosted some exciting games since its inception. The meeting closed as many club members shared their favorite game of the tournament’s history.