Paul "Curly" Armstrong helped lead Central High School, Indiana University and the Zollner Pistons to championships.
Paul "Curly" Armstrong was a winner.
Wherever Armstrong played basketball, and later softball, his teams won. He started at St. Paul's Lutheran Grade School where Armstrong continued his lifelong friendship with Herm Schaefer. The two grew up together on Madison Street and played together in grade school, high school at Central, college at Indiana University and later in the pros with the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons.
The two helped lead Central High School to back-to-back appearances in the state Final Four in 1936 and 1937. They lost to Frankfort in the 1936 championship game and to Huntingburg in the 1937 semifinals. Armstrong and Schaefer then helped Indiana win its first national title in 1940. Armstrong scored 10 points as IU beat Kansas 60-42.
In the pros, Armstrong was a 5-foot-11 guard. He signed with the Pistons in 1942 and averaged 8.3 points as a rookie. After his second season, he joined the Navy and played for the Great Lakes Navy team coached by Tony Hinkle.
Armstrong returned to the Pistons in 1946 and continued to average about eight points per game as the team won the world championship. During his 11-year career, he averaged 7.4 points per game, and also coached the Pistons to a 22-32 record in 1948-49.
Armstrong was also a strong player on the Pistons' softball team, helping them win three world championships.
A knee injury eventually led to Armstrong's retirement in 1951. In 1969, he bought the Curly Armstrong Village Inn on Bluffton Road and he died June 6, 1983, at age 64.