Day 68: The 1966 Championship Game and Team

By on October 25, 2013

1966 Team photo vertToday is Day 68 in the Countdown to UTEP’s Centennial Year.

One of the most celebrated moments in UTEP history came on March 19th, 1966, when the Texas Western Miners basketball team won the NCAA Men’s Division One Basketball Tournament.

Coach Don Haskins chose his best players for his starting line-up and they all happened to be African-American.  Coach Haskins said of his decision: “I was simply playing the best players I had.”

The Miners played the Kentucky Wildcats, a team that remained all white until 1969.  The final score was 72-to-65.  It was called one of the greatest upsets in NCAA basketball history.  At that point in time, the Wildcats had won more NCAA championships than any other team.

The Miner win grew into a symbol for desegregation of college sports, and colleges in the South began aggressively recruiting black athletes.

Coach Haskins received hate mail and death threats after the championship game.  However, his decision to start his best players is considered an important moment in the Civil Rights movement.

This landmark basketball game inspired the book “Glory Road” by Don Haskins and the resulting 2006 film of the same name.  Read more about the movie on Day 66.

The 1966 Roster via http://www.utepathletics.com/sports/m-baskbl/archive/072707aaa.html

 

# Name Pos Ht Wt Cl Hometown
21 Armstrong, Jerry F 6-4 195 Sr. Eagleville, MO
23 Artis, Orsten G 6-1 175 Sr. Gary, IN
22 Baudoin, Louis F 6-7 200 Jr. Albuquerque, N.M.
11 Cager, Willie F 6-5 170 So. New York City, N.Y.
44 Flournoy, Harry F 6-5 190 Sr. Gary, IN
14 Hill, Bobby Joe G 5-10 170 Jr. Detroit, MI
42 Latttin, David C 6-6 240 So. Houston, TX
31 Myers, Dick F 6-4 185 Jr. Peabody, KS
15 Palacio, David G 6-2 180 So. El Paso, TX
25 Railey, Togo G 6-0 175 Jr. El Paso, TX
33 Shed, Nevil C 6-8 185 Jr. New York City, N.Y.
24 Worsley, Willie G 5-6 165 So. New York City, N.Y.

Here is a photo of the team 20 later posing the same positions.

Team photo 20 years later

Jessica Molinar Muñoz is the director of communications for UTEP's Centennial Office.

  1. Willie Quinn
    October 25, 2013

    A very good and concise description of this special event in UTEP’s history and a nice summary of the significance of this event in the history of athletics in the U.S.A.

    Just one minor typo was noted. The caption on the bottom photo should have the word “years” inserted after the number 20. A good reference for these photos could be the NOVA magazine of June 1986.

    Thanks,
    Willie Quinn