Mar. 19, 2017

Texas Western Upends The Kentucky Wildcats 52 Years Ago Today

Our History Need Not Ever Be A Black Mystery
Texas Western University Shuts Down The Supposed Supremacy of The White College Athlete

The Civil Rights Bill just passed in 1964, the Voting Rights Bill would be passed and signed shortly. Yet on this day March 19, 1966, the sporting world turned upside down. You see 51 years ago today a basketball team with 5 black starters shook the foundation of college sports. When they beat an all-white Kentucky Wildcat team coached by legendary Adolph Rupp. They upset the apple cart and changed the face of collegiate sports forever. The game was played at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland this was way before the field of 64 and also at a time when the National Invitation Tournament held as much luster at the NCAA Tournament. Only teams that either was league champions or ending season tournament champions qualified for the so-called BIG DANCE. There was no huge uproar over the NCAA Tournament which really picked up its energies and excitement when the UCLA Bruins and Coach John Wooden started their marvelous run. The Bruins were a truly integrated basketball team that played a 2-1-2 zone press to perfection while basketball teams countered with Dean Smith's 4 corners offense that took the air out of the basketball for extended periods of time especially when the North Carolina Tar Heels took the lead Phil Ford was a magician in that offense. The win by Texas Western or now University of Texas at El Paso was historic in that took the luster off the Kentucky Wildcat team which was part of the Southeastern Conference which has absolutely no black basketball players. UK had to address this situation although many of the university's recruits played competitively against black basketball players in high school especially those recruits coming out of New York City. Adolph Rupp was a coaching god but his vein of racism clouded his judgment on the mental acuity of black men. He knew they possessed the physical talent to be great ball players but he questioned whether men of color could handle the mental aspects of the game. That Texas Western squad coached by Don Haskins busted that imaginary glass ceiling and thus ended the domination of NCAA basketball by white players. Although, we sacrificed the strength and magnitude of black college basketball with this historic win. You see this win began to open the door to black men attending the primarily white institutions in the southern large universities. Just as when the University of Southern California's football team which trounced Paul "Bear" Bryant's Alabama football team with a running back by the name of Sam "Bam" Cunningham began the cycle of black football players into those southern universities after that Trojan trouncing of the Crimson Tide. Just a little more history because our history need never be a black mystery.