Students Host NCAA Pioneers with 'The Final Four Revisited'

Students Host NCAA Pioneers with 'The Final Four Revisited'

On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 26, Dr. Disch and his Sport Management 260 class hosted "The Final Four Revisited" on campus at Keck Hall. The panelists were David Lattin, whose Texas Western Miners (now UTEP) defeated Kentucky in 1966 for the NCAA Championship, and Don Chaney and Elvin Hayes, who made two Final Four appearances for the University of Houston in 1967 and 1968.

Lattin's Miners were depicted in the Disney movie "Glory Road", which told the story of Lattin’s team becoming the first ever to start 5 black players in a game. The movie highlighted the ’66 championship game, in which the Miners defeated legendary coach Adolph Rupp and his all-white Wildcats team. Lattin stated the movie was about 85% accurate.

Hayes and Chaney were the first black athletes at the University of Houston along with football star Warren McVea. Hayes was named the College Basketball Player of the Year in 1968 by Sporting News, and went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NBA. Chaney won 2 championships with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and also coached in the league for 22 years. They both credited former Cougar Coach Guy V. Lewis with his vision and ability to help integrate college basketball in the South.

The panelists spoke about a number of topics, starting with the 1966 championship and its impact on the college basketball landscape. “The racial situation was big on my mind. When Texas Western played and won, I had an unbelievable sense of pride,” noted Chaney on his recollections from the game. “That was big for me, I wanted to see my race succeed.”

The panelists went on to discuss the ‘Game of the Century’, the legendary 1968 matchup between Houston and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s UCLA squad, played in the Astrodome. The game was the first ever college basketball regular season game that was broadcast nationwide, and is credited as a milestone in the widespread growth of college athletics. “When you travel anywhere in the world, they talk about that game,” said Elvin Hayes of the historic matchup. “That game was unlike any other game in the world. To me, that game will always be history.”

After the program the panelists and guests retired to Brochstein Pavilion for a reception with former Rice and NBA great Ricky Pierce and current Rice employees John Kipp and Pat Thornton serving as hosts for the speakers.