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  1. #1
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    6 miles from Heaven, 10 miles from Hell

    Don Haskins, Texas Western Coach, 1930-2008

    AP and ESPN reports that Coach Haskins died earlier today (Sunday.)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3574739

    Duke, of course, probably would have played Texas Western had Bob Verga not gotten sick against Kentucky.

  2. #2
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    roxboro nc
    without a doubt, a pioneer of his time!!! r.i.p!!!!

  3. #3
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    Washington, DC

    Sad News

    A great book called "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down" by Frank Fitzpatrick about the Texas Western v Kentucky game.

    I'll pull it off my shelf and re-read as a memorial.

    Condolences to his family.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2008
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    Southern California
    Thats a shame my condolences got out with the HAskens family. He was truly one of the most revolutionary coaches of all time.

  5. #5

    Basketball's Brown v. Board

    Nice article in the Washington Post by John Feinstein about Texas Western basketball coach Don Haskins and what he did for college BB.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...d=opinionsbox1

  6. #6
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    One of the great unanswered questions in Duke basketball is what would have happened had Duke played TW in the '66 title game. Not just who would have won but would Duke have taken the role of the exemplar of dying Jim Crowism assigned by history to Kentucky?

    My best guess is no, for two reasons. One is the fact that C.B. Claiborne had played that season on the freshman team and Bubas was recruiting other African Americans, including Charlie Scott. So Duke wasn't dragging its feet on integration. Secondly, Bubas simply didn't have the baggage Rupp carried. Put simply, the media liked Bubas and didn't much care for Rupp.

    Haskins did write a book entitled Glory Road, which I recommend. The movie based on the book? Not so much. Numerous distortions and inaccuracies. But give the book a read and give Haskins two thumbs up for his role in advancing the sport.

  7. #7

    Tribute to Haskins

    The Post Article was a tribute to Haskins.

    From the Post article, 'Haskins, who died of congestive heart failure Sunday at age 78, would say years later that he started those five players for one reason: He thought it was the best way to win the game. "I wasn't trying to make any kind of statement," he said. "I thought those five guys gave us our best chance to win." '

    Little did he know what he was doing for Civil Rights, college BB, and human rights in general. He was a great coach and a fine man and he saw the future.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    One of the great unanswered questions in Duke basketball is what would have happened had Duke played TW in the '66 title game. Not just who would have won but would Duke have taken the role of the exemplar of dying Jim Crowism assigned by history to Kentucky?

    My best guess is no, for two reasons. One is the fact that C.B. Claiborne had played that season on the freshman team and Bubas was recruiting other African Americans, including Charlie Scott. So Duke wasn't dragging its feet on integration. Secondly, Bubas simply didn't have the baggage Rupp carried. Put simply, the media liked Bubas and didn't much care for Rupp.
    I think you're mostly right, but I've always been glad that we didn't have to find out. Deep down, I think there may not have been any difficulty plugging in an elite Southern private school with an all-white starting lineup to play the role of dying/antiquated segregationalism.

    But Rupp's reputation for racism certainly helped draw the contrast more than would have been the case with Bubas and Duke.
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  9. #9
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    Haskins was a good guy and a great basketball coach but I think that the 1966 game has been way over dramatized and its influence overstated. Heck, three years earlier an equally lowly regarded Loyola of Chicago team, starting 4 black players beat the two-time defending NCAA champs, Cincinnati, which itself started 4 black players, as I recall.

    There were many, many forces at work that might have contributed to Rupp's decision to recruit black players, not the least of which was a game played in Lexington in December 1966, when a below lowly regarded Cornell team came down to play the then No. 3 ranked Wildcats. The pundits of the time were saying that Cornell should not bother to show up.

    An integrated Cornell team decided, "what the heck," and showed up anyway. It was a blowout alright: Cornell won by 30, when a 6 foot black sophomore guard from Cornell, Greg Morris, who by the way had the best vertical leap I have ever seen, dropped 37 on Pat Riley's head. We, of the Big Red, like to think that lowly Cornell's main man's having come into Rupp's house and taking apart his team might have contributed to the Rupp's decision shortly thereafter to recruit a black player. For the story line, google "Cornell Kentucky basketball 1966" and check out the second thread, IVY LEAGUE BLACK HISTORY.

    That said, Haskins was a fine man, and the victory in '66 was oh so sweet to see, more because it was against the arrogant Rupp then anything since portrayed.
    Last edited by greybeard; 09-11-2008 at 02:36 PM.

  10. #10
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    I agree somewhat with Greybeard. One of my problems with the movie was that it didn't give much context and didn't give any credit to teams like the CCNY teams of the early 1950s or the Cincinnati and Loyola teams that started four African Americans and won NCAA titles. It made it seem like Haskins and the '66 TW team just came out of nowhere and it was a good deal more nuanced than that.

    I have always been curious however with the assertion that Loyola in '63 and TW in '66 were lightly regarded. Perhaps to casual fans but both were ranked third going into the Final Four (Duke was second both times) and their victories did not surprise anyone who actually paid attention to college hoops. Of course, that number was a lot smaller then than it is now.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    I agree somewhat with Greybeard. One of my problems with the movie was that it didn't give much context and didn't give any credit to teams like the CCNY teams of the early 1950s or the Cincinnati and Loyola teams that started four African Americans and won NCAA titles. It made it seem like Haskins and the '66 TW team just came out of nowhere and it was a good deal more nuanced than that.

    I have always been curious however with the assertion that Loyola in '63 and TW in '66 were lightly regarded. Perhaps to casual fans but both were ranked third going into the Final Four (Duke was second both times) and their victories did not surprise anyone who actually paid attention to college hoops. Of course, that number was a lot smaller then than it is now.
    With the stipulation that '65-'66 was the first season I followed college hoops and I was hardly a seasoned observer, I do recall being surprised that Texas Western won, simply because the caliber of their competition was not supposed to be very good. The league they played in wasn't supposed to compare to the ACC or SEC. And if memory serves, it wasn't until the very end of the season, when their record just couldn't be denied, that they got much respect from the poll voters.

    Al Featherston wrote a great piece for DBR when the movie came out, noting many of the historical inaccuracies.

  12. #12
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    I'm not sure if it was skepticism or ignorance. Maybe both. As far as the bulk of the national media was concerned Texas Western might as well have been playing on the moon. I think the prejudice was the assumption that you had to have played in a pedigreed conference to be THAT good.

    But the program did have some name recognition. Haskins had a pretty good team two years earlier, led by an African American post named Jim "Bad News" Barnes, 6'8", 240, and so good that Marvin Barnews appropriated his nickname a decade later and the Knicks drafted him ahead of Willis Reed. We're talking 25 points, 13 rebounds a game here folks. Harry Flournoy and Orsten Artis from the '66 team were soph starters on this team.

    Barnes scored 42 points in their NCAA opener, a 68-62 win over Texas A&M. 42 points will get you a lot of attention. But TW lost to Kansas State 64-60 in the semis. Had the Cameron Crazies been there, they would have chanted "four points, five fouls" at Barnes as he left the game for good. He barely had time to get his warmups off. Mike Lewis had a similar game in the 1968 NIT so maybe it wasn't racist referees. But a lot of people who were there think otherwise.

    So contrary to the movie, Texas Western just didn't come out of nowhere. 1966 certainly wasn't Haskins' first year in El Paso and his days of coaching girl's basketball were long gone. The guy played for Hank Iba for crying out loud and the movie made it seem like he had never seen a college-basketball game before 1966. GRRR.

  13. #13
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    When Loyola won, I was maybe a year or two into following college basketball. There wasn't much to follow, or I should rather say that there wasn't much to read, and you hardly ever saw a game on TV.

    I remember most vividly that there was one pre-season publication that evaluated college teams and also picked high-school All-American teams and honorable mentions, Street & Smith. My friend, and the father of two ex Dukies, the Cat, aka Larry (pohlcat) Pohl turned me onto the magazine, and we used to read and discuss it like it was the Bible. Come to think of it, it was. Could be wrong, but neither Loyola nor Texas Western was written up.

    Cincinnati, returning four players from the previous year's Championship team was supposed to walk, and almost did, until the middle of the second half. Kentucky, they walked on water with three All Americans and the most fabled coach of his era. So, to me, both wins were wild upsets, although to knowledgible fans, if there were any, you correctly point out they weren't.

  14. #14
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    Loyola was ranked fourth by AP in their 1962-'63 pre-season poll. They never dropped lower than fifth that year. Inasmuch as several of their best players came from segregated southern schools, it's not likely they would have been prep All-Americans.

    Loyola played one game that, IMO, should be every bit as famous as the '66 title game and would make a great subject for a movie, although Hollywood would no doubt botch it. Mississippi State had won several SEC titles but had been prohibited from playing in the NCAAT because of the likelihood they would have to play integrated teams. They won the 1963 SEC title and faced a court order prohibiting them from playing that year. They were about to be served but were tipped off by a sympathetic sheriff and slipped out of the state before the order could be served. Literally snuck out of Mississippi in order to play in March Madness.

    So who do they end up playing? You got it, Loyola of Chicago, with four African American starters and several African American reserves against a school representing a state and a conference that, in many minds, epitomized hard-core resistance to integration and civil rights.

    Folks were predicting sharks versus jets, blood on the court, the end of the world as we know it. What they got was a splendid college-basketball game, won by Loyola 61-51, 40 minutes of respect and good sportsmanship, and absolutely not one act or word of racism from any coach or player.

    ACC teams had been playing integrated teams since at least the early 1950s but the ACC wasn't the SEC. And the ACC was beginning to integrate. As much as any game ever played, this game shattered the myth that black basketball players and white basketball players couldn't get together on a basketball court and just play basketball. Racists lost big time.

  15. #15
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    I guess I am the only one here to defend the movie, Glory Road. I think it told a good story, Hollywoodized (probably not a word) to make TW and Haskins look greater than they were. But I saw the TW-UK game on TV back in the day, and I remember how shocked everybody was, but also how, at the end, everybody (not from UK) was pulling for TW. Is this a fictionalized version of the truth? Yes, but remember, it is a M O V I E, not a documentary. I liked it.

  16. #16
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    But the movie would have been just as compelling if they hadn't fictionalized it.

  17. #17
    I was absolutely miserable the night that DUKE fell to Kentucky in the semifinals. I had seen Verga/Reidy/Marin/Vacendak/Lewis live several times during the season, and really thought they were the best of the four teams at College Park. But when Bob Verga couldn't deliver because of the flu, Kentucky pulled it off in the final seconds by 4. Amazingly, we were still in it until Mike Lewis missed a short bank shot inside, then Larry Conley (I think?) went the length of the court for a layup.

    I was so upset (at age 18!) I swore I wouldn't even watch the Championship the next night. But curiosity got the better of me in 24 hours, I was glued to the screen ... and that game stuck with me forever.

    Hats off to Willie Worsley, Orsten Artis, Big Daddy Latin, Nevil Shed, and the great Bobby Joe Hill -- AND their coach Don Haskins for whipping the Cats & Adoph Rupp ... and giving us oldtimers a game that we can still talk about today ....I still remember turning off the TV audio, and turning up the radio play-by-play from the Mouth-of-the-South, Bill Currie of the (then) Carolina Sports Network. What a great night for college basketball.

  18. #18
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    attended the 1966 title game, as well as other NCAA title games including the 1962 title rematch in Louisville between Ohio State and Cincinnati (OSU whopped Wake and Billy Packer in the preliminary despite. Jerry Lucas' injury) I agree with Greybeard, Jim Summner and others that the civil rights aspect of the '66 game has been way over-hyped and that mythology has overtaken the facts. There were many, well-recognized black players much earlier: Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson to mention only a few. Ohio State won in 1960 with several key black players; Cincinnati won in 1961 and repeated in '62 with at least three or four black starters, including Paul Hogue, Tom Thacker and Tony Yates (Ron Bonham is the only non-black I recall in '62); Chicago Loyola, as mentioned previously, edged Cincinnati in 63with four black starters and had five on the floor at many points. In 1966 Kentucky was not only white, but also short (Pat Riley, at 6'5"", may have been the tallest Kentucky starter vs the much bigger David Lattin). In sum, the media largely made up a good story that, with added drama, turned into a fine movie.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by westwall View Post
    In 1966 Kentucky was not only white, but also short (Pat Riley, at 6'5"", may have been the tallest Kentucky starter vs the much bigger David Lattin).

    I believe center Thad Jaracz, at 6-4, was the tallest starter. Riley was 6-3, maybe their best rebounder because he could sky and was hard-nosed. They weren't called Rupp's runts for nothing. Mike Lewis would have matched up size-wise with Lattin, unlike anybody on Ky's team.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    I'm not sure if it was skepticism or ignorance. Maybe both. As far as the bulk of the national media was concerned Texas Western might as well have been playing on the moon. I think the prejudice was the assumption that you had to have played in a pedigreed conference to be THAT good.
    Not on the same level, and not really an issue with the national media, but many many many casual fans thought Memphis basically had no chance to win the national title last year because they play in CUSA.

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