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Tribute to The Bear

No, not Bryant. I’m talking about Don Haskins, the longtime coach at UTEP (formerly Texas Western), who made history by winning the 1966 NCAA men’s basketball championship with an all-black starting lineup. The team they beat was Kentucky, coached by Adolph Rupp. Rupp was, to put it charitably, behind the times on racial matters – it would be three more years before Kentucky featured a black player.

Anyway, Jerry Izenberg wrote this nice tribute to Haskins. It’s not true that UTEP has never competed for any other championships – their track and field team is a perennial power – but no matter. Go read and enjoy.

UPDATE: In this entry, about the death of Texas Western guard Bobby Hill, I was going to make a stronger statement about Coach Rupp being a racist, but a Google search on him led me to this page, which argues that he’s been unfairly labelled as such. I report, you decide.

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