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Home / Sports / Loyola Chicago reached Final Four in 1963 and won the NCAA tournament

Loyola Chicago reached Final Four in 1963 and won the NCAA tournament



Vic Rouse of Loyola Chicago strikes when the time runs out in overtime against Cincinnati in the 1

963 national title game. (Associated Press)

College basketball has few stories better than Loyola Chicago's wonderful run to the Final Four. Maybe one of them came when the Ramblers did it the first time.

It was a 1963 sprint that paved the way for integration into college sports, was one of the first NCAA Summer Beaters and was largely forgotten by casual fans until Loyola became the Promised Land of College 55 years later -Basketball Reached

This is the story of this run that should have shaped names like Harkness, Rouse, Hunter, Miller, Egan, and Ireland into the collective consciousness of the sport. The story was revived by the success of Clayton Custer, Ben Richardson and Porter Moser – Loyola's starting place and coach – who was able to roam the campus undisturbed until this month. The Missouri Valley champions of 2018 will face Michigan on Saturday in San Antonio, but his record is unlike that of coach George Ireland Ramblers, who scored in the regular season of 1962-63 with a 24-2 record and one of 25 bids Buste to the NCAA tournament.

Ireland recruited an interracial team in Loyola, but for years adhered to the unspoken approval of college basketball among the coaches to limit the number of black players on the ground at once.

In 1963 Ireland said to hell. He founded Jerry Harkness and Ron Miller, both from the Bronx, and Vic Rouse and John Hunter, from a separate high school in Nashville. John Egan, the point guard, was the only white player in the top five.

The Ramblers burned through their opponents and often ran to schools from separate states. They beat Arkansas and Memphis State in double digits, Loyola of New Orleans at 30, Washington University in St. Louis at 60.

"I poured it out to them," Ireland said according to USA Today [19659010] "I was mine Time 20 years ahead, and I wanted them to wake up and smell the coffee. "

In an era before the three-point line, the Ramblers scored 10 points in the regular season. [19659013] They beat Tennessee Tech in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 111-42, still the biggest profit margin for a tournament game. That set a meeting with the state of Mississippi, which deserves a first round bye.

But the state of Mississippi had forbidden what newspapers at that time called "an unwritten law" prohibiting public universities from participating in sports events involving integrated teams. The Bulldogs had already skipped the NCAA tournament in 1959, 1961 and 1962.

Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett said the school's attendance was "not for the best interests of Mississippi State University, the state of Mississippi or any of the races," according to the Associated Press.

But the supporters of the team, who thought the Bulldogs were favorites in the Mideast region, urged the team to allow them to play until a judge issued a restraining order prohibiting him from going to East Lansing, Michigan. to travel for the game. [19659017] Despite the court, coach Babe McCarthy has devised a plan to send his team out of the state.

McCarthy drove to Memphis the night before and then to Nashville. The team coach took the bankers to the local airport if the authorities tried to serve the team with the injunction. An assistant coach hid with the team's starters in a dorm.

When no one came to stop the team's charter flight, the players came out of hiding, shot on board, and the plane made a stopover in Nashville to pick up McCarthy.

After the plane was in the air, an appeal judge tore the injunction. The game was on.

Prior to the hint, Harkness, Loyola's captain, and Joe Dan Gold, Mississippi State, shook the palms in midfield in a significant display of sportiness. The two later became friends and Gold's family showed a photo of the exchange at his funeral in 2011. Harkness attended.

"There was no way that I would not be there," he told John Feinstein the post office. "I know if it was my funeral, Dan would have been there."

Loyola's Jerry Harkness (left) shakes hands with Joe Dan Gold of Mississippi State before her 1963 game. (19659024) Loyola beat Mississippi State, 61-51, then treated Big Ten co-champion Illinois by 15 points to reach the national semi-finals. At the time, the New York Times described the Ramblers as "one of the season's glamor (sic) teams." A victory over Duke led to a meeting with two-time defending champion Cincinnati in the national title game.

The Ramblers started the game cold, missing 13 of their first 14 shots, and followed 15 with 14 minutes to play. But after a late comeback, Harkness hit 54 seconds before the final whistle and sent him into overtime.

Harkness held on for the last shot in extra time, but was caught by Cincinnati's defense. He went to Hunter, who jumped off the lazy line that rang right off the edge.

Rouse, his high schoolmate, waited. His right-handed putback was good when the time had run out. "A nerve-racking climax," said the AP.

"College basketball celebrated a new champion today," the New York Times wrote. "It was Loyola University of Chicago, formerly unknown to such fame."

"It's still unbelievable, just unbelievable," Ireland said after the game.

"Rouse was hanging in the air and waiting for it". Hunter told USA Today in 2013. "We came to Loyola as a package deal, and even though it came to him, I feel it was there for me as well."

And amidst a 2018 March Madness full of drama, written enough by Loyola's latest batch of tournament favorites, the Ramblers would not think a little more Saturday.

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