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