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The Pioneer Collection | Texas Western 1966
Texas Western Head Coach Don Haskins changed the landscape of college basketball forever during the 1965-1966 season. Haskins and Texas Western (now UTEP) started 5 African American players during a time where entire conferences didn't have a single black player.
TWC only lost one game, by two points to Seattle, during the regular season and entered the NCAA Tournament 23-1. Texas Western had to survive back to back overtime games against Cincinnati and Kansas to punch their ticket to the Final Four in College Park, Maryland. After defeating Utah, 85-78, the only thing that stood between them and history was Adolph Rupp's No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats.
Nationally televised college basketball games were rare in the 1960s so Texas Western's five black starters, Bobby Joe Hill, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Harry Flournoy and David Lattin, didn't draw national attention until they reached the national championship game. Their 72-65 win changed college sports forever.
"There's just no way any other college basketball game had this impact. Right away, you saw other conferences start taking black players across the south. So you think about the impact that that had on the number of families that all the sudden their kids could get a college scholarship, and not just basketball but football and track, and baseball, and whatever it was."
-Dan Wetzel, author of Glory Road