Inside the Hall turns 10 today … and for that, we say thank you

  • 06/26/2017 7:15 am in

What started as a passion project among three guys in their early to mid-20s is celebrating its 10th birthday today.

In the spring of 2007, myself, along with Ryan Corazza and Eamonn Brennan, had our first discussion about collaborating on a project involving IU basketball.

Looking back in my gmail archives, those first conversations are now quite humorous. The word “blog,” which is now extinct in my vocabulary, was thrown around often. Many names were proposed, including “AltarOfAssemblyHall”, “HoosierHype” and “CandyStripesAtTheHall.”

Thankfully, Eamonn came in late in the process with a suggestion that saved the day: Inside the Hall.

Six days later, the site launched with a post about Bud Mackey, a Kelvin Sampson recruit who would later be arrested for possessing crack-cocaine in his backpack at Scott County High in Kentucky.

The early days of Inside the Hall were written with more snark and from a fan perspective, at times. We used aliases, we didn’t cover the team in person and we had other ventures and responsibilities that took precedent in our day-to-day lives. The site was an outlet for each of us to express views on the team and the program, which was our goal from the beginning.

But things changed as the days, months and years moved along. Sampson decimated IU basketball by breaking NCAA rules. A coaching search ensued. Tom Crean was hired. And the program slowly began to climb back to relevancy.

Our voices changed, too, as we each grew in the profession. The aliases we were using were dropped for our real names. The tone of our coverage changed as we looked to expand the scope of what we would seek to deliver our readers. Eamonn left in 2009 as he took a full-time job with ESPN. In 2010, we were credentialed for the first time for a game. We began covering recruiting more regularly as Joe Eberhardt helped us cover some events in the Indianapolis area. And the readership and community began to grow.

With neither Ryan or myself based in Bloomington, we came to the realization that the next step in continuing to improve our coverage was the addition of a writer in Bloomington. In 2010, Zach Osterman, now of The Indianapolis Star, became our first student writer. Since then, folks like Justin Albers, Jordan Littman, Andrew Vailliencourt, Hailey Hernandez and Josh Margolis, who will return next season, have all spent time writing for the site during their time as students.

Along the way, we also connected with Jamie Owens, who remains with the site and is an important part of our coverage with his terrific photography. (I still maintain he took the best photo of Christian Watford’s shot to beat Kentucky in 2011. Don’t @ me.)

In late 2012, with my second child on the way and the site continuing to grow along with the revival of the program, I took a chance and decided to make a go of publishing the site as a full-time venture. I was terrified to try it, but one constant ultimately gave me the confidence to dive in head first: the readers and this community.

And now here we are, 10 years in, 7,000 posts and over 103 million page views in the books.

Without getting too long winded, I ultimately wanted to use this Monday morning note to say thanks first and foremost to our readers. Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or found us somewhere along the way over these last ten years, we appreciate all of you.

In less than five years, you’ve posted over 290,000 times in our premium forum. On the main site, you’ve posted over 339,000 comments. Those are numbers that we could have never imagined back in 2007. Thank you.

I’d also like to say thanks to my family for their support and understanding when my work hours are often abnormal.

And of course, I have to say thanks to Eamonn, who helped get the site off the ground and Ryan, who remains an integral part of it today. Content pieces like Film Session and The Minute After are must-reads during the season and the site wouldn’t be what it is today from a design and technical perspective without all of his hard work.

The site content also wouldn’t look nearly as beautiful without Jamie’s photography. I know it’s a lot of travel and sacrifice for him to shoot as many games as he does and we’re thankful that he continues to work with us.

All of the students and contributors along the way also deserve a lot of credit. While it may seem like all fun from the outside covering a major beat like IU basketball, it’s also a lot of work. We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best student writers in Bloomington and all of them have enhanced our coverage in different ways.

I’d also like to say thanks to Matt Dollinger and Greg Rosenstein for all of their work in hosting Podcast on the Brink in its early days and to Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call for continuing to carry that torch. Without Matt, Greg and Jerod, the podcast doesn’t exist in its current form.

In closing, I wanted to share an interesting set of data from the first ten years. From 10 to 1, here’s a list of the ten most read posts in Inside the Hall history. The results will probably surprise you:

10. Indiana dismisses Emmitt Holt, announces discipline for Thomas Bryant

9. What we know about Indiana’s coaching future

8. Devin Davis in serious condition following accident

7. Luke Fischer leaves Indiana, will transfer

6. Indiana announces 2013-2014 basketball schedule

5. National voices weigh-in on Archie Miller hire

4. Indiana announces 2012-2013 basketball schedule

3. Roundup: What potential candidates are saying about the IU job

2. Names to know: IU coaching search big board

1. Thomas Bryant commits to Indiana

Filed to:

  • TomJameson

    This is an amazing site, it truly is. This public forum in tandem with the Premium Forum give me everything I want to know about IU Basketball. In the Premium Forum the members start their own threads of interest, and a lot of times link to a story for everyone’s consideration. That forum is the only pay-site I have ever subscribed to, and it’s well worth the price. Between both forums I don’t miss a thing. That’s fantastic.

    While the ITH history is a great read about somebody able to create a business from a passion (always love that storyline), I have to admit that one thing kept running through my mind. Out of those 290,000 posts in the Premium Forum … how much of a percentage of those were made by HF76? 🙂

  • HoosierHillbilly

    Alex,
    Thank you to you and your whole team for providing all the information and quality reporting for us over the years. I came upon y’all by accident about 8 years ago and have enjoyed your professionalism and insight since.
    Living down here in southern Indiana dominated by UK and UL coverage you give me a place to release from that nonsense. In fact, I appreciate y’all so much that for the last 4 years you have been my internet default page and the first thing I see in the morning when I open up my browser. Thanks again and continue the great work!

  • Knuckledrager

    Thank you for the dedicated and demanding work you’ve put in on this sight. I don’t get on as much as I use to, but when I do get on I always check you site. Well Alex I going to call it a day, it’s 7:30 in the am. Man, keep up the good work, and I’ll stumble through once in a while. Alex peace on you and everyone here. Go Hoosiers, ya hosers. Mike https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cbeef260c863c2307adc950dd97bcb48b3dece816ac2e76c3284f47b6c9eb2df.jpg

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i first found this site when searching for info about CZ. how the heck is that already 7 years ago!!! given its fan base, history, tradition, etc…one would think the internet would be teeming with iu forums, but that just ain’t so. and for that, i am truly appreciative of ITH. i’m looking forward to many more seasons of petty arguments and name calling.

  • HoosierBballNut

    Thank you for all that you do Alex. Inside the Hall is my go to place for all things IU Basketball. I believe the best is yet to come!

  • marcusgresham

    It was the Kelvin Sampson debacle that led to the search for Tom Crean when I discovered ITH.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    you forgot to say, ‘…and my life has been forever changed.’ 😉
    it’s ok, i forgot too

  • JethroTroll

    Congrats and thank you for the first 10 years, it sure does go fast. It hasn’t exactly been the best 10 years in IU’s history, as it covers the darkest period ever, but it sure didn’t lack drama. But here’s hoping for a great second ten year period, and I truly believe that’s going to be the case. IU nailed it when they hired Archie Miller, and I think he’s going to crush it at IU.

  • Pianoroark

    Growing up, I never cared much for basketball. I was too short to play, didn’t get it as a spectator, etc. When I got to IU in 2004, obviously, everything changed. Even as we started rebuilding under Crean, I became obsessed. So Inside the Hall has been side by side with my IU fandom since the beginning. For me, and I’m sure many others, the site has operated as much more than simply a provider of quality sports information, and has become a neighborhood of people with shared interests (and even shared background in many cases, since most of us are alumni). In other words, Inside the Hall does the kind of societal good sports are capable of: bringing people together into a community.

    I could go on, like how I’ve found solace in these article pages after hard days over the years, etc., but this is already getting a little cheesy, so I’ll cut myself off! Anyway, thank YOU, Alex and everyone involved, for your efforts and offerings in creating a site I can no longer imagine my life without.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    Congrats on 10 years and I’m looking forward to the next few decades! Thanks for all that you do! Hands down the best IU hoops articles and my favorite sports site. Period. I’ll say that I do enjoy the professional tone of the site. There are jabs here and there, but for the most part, this site maintains that “voice of reason” that a lot of us fanatics need.

  • THRyan

    I remember the days of going to the IU official site for all my IUBB content and never being satisfied with the coverage. I stumbled across the site in 2011, and it was a revelation. I don’t post much, but I read everything. Thanks ITH. As for the top ten, it still bums me out when I think about Luke Fischer. Finally we had a true center that was going to be around and develop for 4 years….I wish he would have stayed.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’ve been visiting ITH since 2013. I remember wanting to vent about not being able to beat a 2-3 zone defense… or something of that nature… You guys do a tremendous job of providing all-encompassing IU basketball coverage and I love all the creative stuff you can’t find anywhere else (film sessions). It is us who should be thanking you. Keep doing what you’re doing Alex.

  • John D Murphy

    I don’t remember how I found this site, but I’m glad I did. Great work and congratulations on the 10 years.

  • sams212

    Congratulations to both Alex and everyone else at ITH as well as to all the readers on a great 10 years. I’ve followed this site for a long time and I love how far it’s come. I love college basketball and it still surprises me that no other fan base has an independent site as professional or as deep as we Hoosiers have with ITH. To another successful 10 years and 6th banner!

  • dwdkc

    9.7% I think it came out to. Mostly because he would do a running play by play during games for several years.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Thank you ITH for all you have done for us readers of Indiana basketball !! i check in almost daily. hrer is to another 10 years!! GO HOOSIERS!!

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I went back and did the math. Its amazing that one person can get nearly 10%, even with HF doing the play-by-play for that many years. You know, I miss that play-by-play too … he did a fantastic job.

  • pcantidote

    I found this site because the Indy Star was and continues to be ignorant with a pay wall. I’ve never looked back. I think the ITH business model is just a better way to do an online sports beat.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Not quite sure how I stumbled onto ITH but IIRC it was just prior to Tom Crean’s hiring–I could be wrong on the timing; I’ve slept and drank beer since then.

    Anyways, I have enjoyed the posts and the comments more than my words can express. I check in at least 2-3 times a day. Once, first thing in the morning for the new posts and then throughout the day to read comments.

    ITH helps me feel more connected to my team and my alma mater than anything else short of having a beer at Nick’s or pizza at Mother Bear’s and then heading to a game at SSAS.

    Thanks to the writers and the commenters for allowing me to participate.

  • Patrick Galvin

    Great work, great site. I graduated from IU in 2008 and feel like the site has perfectly reflected my own history with the program. I can give you no bigger internet compliment than the fact that ITH is part of my automatic “website rotation” every day.

  • SilverAtlanta

    Thank you Alex and staff for such a great way to follow my favorite team from afar. You do a fantastic job and enjoy the fact that the forum is here for the fans. If there are more knowledgeable fans of a team on any forum anywhere, I’d be surprised! Love the recruiting updates and the after game analysis in particular.
    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our Indiana Hoosier fan base!

  • Zach

    Been a daily reader since my freshman year at IU in 2012. Congrats on the first decade and thank you for always keeping us in the loop! You guys have really turned this site into a special place and a community for all of us to both vent the bad times and celebrate the good ones.

  • marcusgresham

    I forgot to say, “and I haven’t gotten a damn thing done since.”

  • SCHoosier

    Thank you for this great product and congratulations on your business success. Small business men such as yourself and your partners are the heart beat of America!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    oh no doubt! my productivity shot way down during those offseasons with all the players getting into trouble! i couldn’t help fighting with people on here all day long.

  • StudentHoosier

    Wow time really does fly.
    I remember when I found out about ITH and haven’t looked back since. I was in 7th or 8th grade (not sure, but it was a year or two after ITH’s launch). I had never really been a sports guy at all, all I cared about was becoming an entrepreneur. Anyway, my family and I had just to moved to a small town in Southern Indiana (classic Hoosier fans, am I right?) from Kansas City. I was just getting adjusted to being the new kid in town, and man was it tough. I felt like all the kids were all so close and I was just invading on all their fun. I wasn’t bullied or anything like that, I just had nothing really in common with them outside of bringing bananas to lunch. But whenever I could hear any of their conversations, they were all about one thing: Indiana basketball. Once I figured this out, I would go home and my brother TJ and I would do all the research we could about IU hoops. One of the primary outlets I used was ITH. Eventually, this became my bond with everybody at school. I didn’t feel lonely, I felt like I had an alliance, and ITH played a huge part in that. I’ve been hooked on IUBB ever since. I loaded the gun, I pulled the trigger, but ITH showed me how the gun works. Thanks Alex!

  • VOXAC30

    I access ITH daily for nearly 8 years love it! Thanks Alex and team!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Alex, thank you! Your ITH means a lot to me. My family doesn’t understand but posters on ITH do. We rarely get any IU information in the Chicago area and the Indy Star uses IU as a punching bag. Alex, your a shining star in my mind and you’ve found a perfect niche. Again, I want to thank you and everyone who writes for the ITH and the posters on ITH. Go IU.

  • BFowler

    Congrats, Alex. While not there on Day 1, I do recall coming across this site sometime in 2007. I believe it was a recruiting story on a kid named Leon Washington, or something like that. It was about him punching another player, I think. I have been s loyal reader ever since. I don’t comment like I did back then, but I agree the content has become more professional over time. However, some of that early stuff was so good and entertaining regardless of professionalism in the tone. Again, congrats to you, Ryan, and Eammon on the success of the site, many more years to come.

  • Mark Bando

    Not a day goes by without me checking out the site. Thanks Alex.

  • Courtney Graber

    Congratulations and thank you for the great work. The highest compliment I can give is that I visit Inside The Hall more than any other sight.
    Well done!

  • AndyCapp

    LMFAO, how true!!! UPVOTE 😀

  • AndyCapp

    Thanks Alex, for all of your dedication and hard work. Like some of the other posters I have been a near-daily reader for years and only recently began to feel like I had a voice for contributing a comment. Look forward to being with ITH for many years to come.

  • Doug Wilson

    I moved to Australia in late 2005. I was looking for ways to keep up with IU basketball when I came across, “Inside the Hall’. For most of the 10 yrs it has been going, I have watched it expand into what it is today. A check daily site. Dam ya for taking time off….(grinning). Thank you for always doing your best to keep me in the loop. i love the well written articles, pod casts, etc. You are a world leader in basketball IMHO. Thanks Gents.

  • Doug Wilson

    Cheers to that comment. When on feels like IU should be signing a recruit soon, go into favorite tab. Pull up ITH. and bam! instantly verify your ‘gut feeling’.

  • Doug Wilson

    three names that have been on here “Forever”.