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  1. #1
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    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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    without a doubt, a pioneer of his time!!! r.i.p!!!!

  3. #3
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    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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    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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    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.

  14. #14
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    Thad Jaracz and Tommy Kron were 6'5". Riley and Larry Conley were listed at 6'3". Reserve Cliff Berger was 6'8". It should be noted that Jaracz was a big 6'5", 225-230 or so.

    For TW, Lattin was a bulky 6'7", Nevil Shed a rail-thin 6'8" and Flournoy a jumping-jack 6'5".

    But Kentucky outrebounded a much bigger Duke team 33-29 and was outrebounded by TW 35-33. They didn't lose that game on the boards.

  15. #15
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    Following my own post again. Anyway, the 1962 Cincy team started four African Americans, Paul Hogue, George Wilson, Tom Thacker, and Tony Yates, along with Ron Bonham. Wilson, incidentially, was a teammate of Jeff Mullins (and Larry Brown) on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team.

    There is some feeling that TW winning the NCAA title with five black starters was significantly different than Cincy and Loyola winning with four, because teams supposedly needed a white starter to provide the intellectual boost obviously lacking in black players. I'm not sure I give this theory much credibility. By 1966 African American NBA players like Oscar Robertson, Guy Rodgers, K.C. Jones, and Al Attles were heady point guards and Walt Hazzard had QB'd UCLA to the an undefeated season in 1964. Anyone who thought that talented black players needed a cerebral white player to show them the way was probably so far in denial that they were still waiting for Jeff Davis to come back. But the theory is still out there.

    By the way, I can't let the discussion of the '66 TW team go any further without mentioning one of their reserves, Willie Cager. My all-time favorite basketball name.

    Note that CCNY started three black players in 1950, when they won the NCAA title. They defeated North Carolina State in the semifinals 78-73, without a hint of racial sub-theme. State had just defeated Bob Cousy and Holy Cross in a game in which Cousy shot 11-38. No, that's not a typo. But the defensive wiz who helped shut down Cousy sprained his ankle against CCNY and played sparingly. Guy by the name of Bubas, who later became the first man to both play in and coach in the Final Four. Small world after all.

  16. #16
    HAAAA ! Thanks to JimSumner ! Ever since I posted yesterday about Texas Western, something's been bugging me: I knew there was a player I was leaving out -- the great Harry Flournoy. Appreciate your listing his name in your post this morning.

    Also, I have to admit I couldn't wait to see the movie about the Team. True, it had all the Hollywood touches, but it was fun to see the (alledged) exchanges between Coach Haskins (the great Josh Lucas!) and the players, as they made their Championship run. The Rupp part (by Jon Voight) was so venemous, it was laughable. Surely Rupp could not have been that much of a cad -- can one of my fellow old timers shed some light ... ?

    I knew of AR's legend, but was too busy with Carolina, Art Heyman, Cotton Nash, and Everett Case to look further into him.

  17. #17
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    It was the best and worst of times for Kentucky basketball

    Rupp fully admitted till his dying day that this was his favorite team. Kentucky entered the game as a favorite but not overwhelming as some might say. Texas Western aka UTEP was ranked number three in the nation at the time. This game was before my time and I will not comment on the so called racial impacts of the game. Did it change Kentucky basketball for the better? Yes and yes the game will always hurt as that Kentucky team was one of the most popular one's in history. Here are some links to add historic perspective to the game. In the last year there was a good link on You Tube of Rupp after the game in which he was very complimentary of Texas Western and Coach Haskins. Unfortunately it has disappeared from You Tube. Strange to see that Kentucky and UTEP have come full circle with Billy Gillispie now coaching Kentucky after starting at UTEP.

    http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/Sta...s/1965-66.html

    http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/Sta...asWestern.html

  18. #18
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    Good post

    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    Following my own post again. Anyway, the 1962 Cincy team started four African Americans, Paul Hogue, George Wilson, Tom Thacker, and Tony Yates, along with Ron Bonham. Wilson, incidentially, was a teammate of Jeff Mullins (and Larry Brown) on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team.

    There is some feeling that TW winning the NCAA title with five black starters was significantly different than Cincy and Loyola winning with four, because teams supposedly needed a white starter to provide the intellectual boost obviously lacking in black players. I'm not sure I give this theory much credibility. By 1966 African American NBA players like Oscar Robertson, Guy Rodgers, K.C. Jones, and Al Attles were heady point guards and Walt Hazzard had QB'd UCLA to the an undefeated season in 1964. Anyone who thought that talented black players needed a cerebral white player to show them the way was probably so far in denial that they were still waiting for Jeff Davis to come back. But the theory is still out there.
    For so many years the thought was an intellectual white quarterback to lead your football team. Well we now know how stupid that thought is. What a memory you have Jim Sumner. You bring back many memories. Keep the posts coming.
    Last edited by -jk; 09-16-2008 at 11:09 AM. Reason: fix quote tag

  19. #19

    College Park

    Just a few additions to this discussion:

    -- With all the speculation about a possible Duke-Texas Western matchup in the finals, there's one point that almost nobody looks at: If Duke had played TW, there's an excellent chance that Haskins would not have started five blacks. And even if he did start five blacks to make a symbolic point (although Haskins always insisted that his starting lineup was purely a basketball decision), he'd likely have been forced to play a white forward most of the game.

    The two reasons are Jack Marin and Harry Flournoy. You have to remember that Flournoy, who was Haskins shut-down defensive forward, was hurt in the semifinals. Against Rupp's runts, Haskins was able to replace him with Willie Cager, a 5-9 guard, and go with a three-man backcourt (kind of Krzyzewski-like). But Duke's big front line would have presented that lineup problems -- Mike Lewis was a good physical match for Lattin in the middle, while Ortis Artis could have guarded Bob Riedy at one forward.

    But Marin was impossible to guard with a smaller man. The 6-3 Riley, who was Kentucky's top frontcourt defender couldn't handle him in the semifinals. That same night, Utah forward Jerry Chambers almost singlehandedly beat Texas Western because Haskins didn't have anybody to guard him. After Flourney was hurt, Haskins tried Artis and Shed, but ended up having to rely on a 6-8 white forward named Jerry Armstrong. Haskins says in his autobiography that Armstrong, who didn't play in the finals against Kentucky, saved their butts that night by finally shutting down Armstrong.

    Marin would have presented the same kind of problems that Chambers did ... Pat Riley, who played the same position for Kentucky, was just 6-3 and could be guarded by a guard. Haskins could have tried Artis on Marin, but he was better against power forwards (he was helpless against Chambers the night before) and beside, if he did that, who guards the burley Reidy? I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that Haskins would have called on Armstrong, if not to start, then to play a good part of the game.

    Overall, Duke would have had a much better chance against Texas Western than Kentucky did ... Bubas had Lewis in the middle to match up with Lattin and he had a superb ballhanding team (TW's pressure on Kentucky made the difference in the game) that had established itself early in the season by smashing the UCLA press in back-to-back games.

    -- Haskins said in his autobiography that as of 1966, no team in the ACC or SEC had a black player. Not true ... in addition to CB Claiborne, who was on the Duke freshman team, Billy Jones made his varsity debut for Maryland that year.

    In fact, Jones was at the 1966 title game, sitting behind the Kentucky bench. He was there hosting two black prospects that the Terps were trying to recruit -- Charlie Davis and Gil McGregor, who both ended up playing at Wake Forest (Davis became the ACC's first black player of the year ... although only after the racists in the ACC media contrived to avoid giving the award to Charlie Scott).

    -- The movie, Glory Road, contains four great distortions:

    (1) The idea that Don Haskins integrated Texas Western and met resistance when he did so is ridiculous. The school and team had been integrated for years before his arrival -- in fact, when he arrived in El Paso, sophomore guard Nolan Richardson (the future Arkansas coach) was waiting on the steps to help him unpack. If there was ever any resistance in El Paso to integration, it was over long before Haskins' arrival.

    (2) The idea that there was doubt about the abilities of black players (one skeptical character says, "You don't think you can win with black players, do you?). Well, considering that this was when Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Roberston, Elgin Baylor and company were dominating the NBA, it's hard to believe that question could be raised. As Jim and others have pointed out, mostly black teams had won NCAA titles as early as 1950 ... also, seven black players were starters in the 1966 NBA all-star games. Texas Western certainly didn't prove that blacks could play the game.

    (3) Maybe the most forgivable error in the film was the idea that Haskins went to the final four in his first year ... as Jim has pointed out, he was there for years and even had a great team two years earlier with All-American Jim Bad New Barnes. That team, which Haskins said was better than the '66 champs, lost by four to Kansas State in the Sweet 16 when Barnes got into foul trouble.

    (4) The worst distortion in the film was the idea that the '66 team only took off when Hawkins loosened the coaching reins and allowed them to play streetball. In fact, the exact opposite happened -- Haskins describes the season as a struggle to get his loose, undisciplined players to play the slow, defensively oriented style that he learned from Hank Iba. That's one reason the '66 title game WAS important -- because it attacked the prejudice that white players played an intelligent game, while black players were wild and undisciplined. What the nation watching that game saw was a wild, undisciplined all-white team beaten by a smart, under-control all-black team playing a slow tempo and superb defense. It's worth noting that Kentucky threw up 70 shots in the title game ... TW just 49.

    And BTW, the movie also distorts the title game by having TW come from behind ... not true ... TW took the lead with the two midcourt steals at the 12 minute mark in the first half and led for the rest of the game -- they were never threatened down the stretch.

    -- Loyola did start four blacks in the 1963 title game against Cincinnati (which started three blacks in 1963 after starting four blacks in 1962), but there was never any point when there were five blacks on the floor as one poster suggested -- The Ramblers used just five players in the entire overtime game. George Ireland lost his top three subs to academics at midseason and in the NCAA Tournament rarely if ever subbed -- never in the title game.

  20. #20
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    One little correction OF. I believe Willie Cager was a front court player. The third guard you're thinking of is probably Willie Wormsley, who was actually listed at 5-6, and could slam.

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