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What Newspapers Said About Miners' '66 Championship Back Then

Published On: Jul 11 2012 05:58:03 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 18 2011 06:33:05 AM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

Texas Western College's win over Kentucky on March 19, 1966 was seen as an upset. This is how the historic game was covered back then.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer After watching a quick, poised Texas Western team take top ranked Kentucky apart, 72-65, in the NCAA basketball finals here, a fellow wonders how he could have picked the Wildcats.

The new champions from El Paso were superior in every department in Saturday's windup at the University of Maryland. They shot more accurately, were more tenacious on defense and, most surprising, displayed better poise than the team that had hoped to give Adolph Rupp an unprecedented fifth title.

Sparkplug and floor leader of the victorious Miners, 100 percent improved over their semifinal showing against Utah, was Bobby Joe Hill.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution Inspired Texas Western, led by the gymnastic effort of little Bobby Joe Hill, toppled the National collegiate basketball championship that Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp wanted to add to his collection of four others.

Lexington Herald All season long, the Kentucky Wildcat fans have been afraid what would happen when their favorites - nicknamed Rupp's Runts - ran into tree-top tall opponents. With their tallest starter being a 6-5 sophomore and having two 6-3 forwards, the fans - and coaching staff - had a right to fear giant foes.

But it so happens that the fellows who broke the Wildcats' backs in the national championship contest at College Park Saturday night were "runtier" than Rupp's Runts.

A 5-10 guard, Bobby Joe Hill, sparked the wobbly Miners by intercepting two passes and turning them into two goals inside a 12-second span. And a 5-6 forward, Willie Worsley who can dunk a basketball with both hands, were the guys who actually kayoed the Kentuckians from becoming the fifth national title holders in the school's history.

Sports Illustrated For weeks Don Haskins had splitting headaches - frightful, bursting pains that seemed to cleave his brain. The closer Texas Western came to the national basketball championship, the worse the headaches became. Perhaps his suffering was attributable to the implausibility of it all, for near the end Haskins really began to wonder if maybe he wasn't knocking destiny just a little bit out of joint. He savored the situation, of course. He loved it. But now and then he would stop to muse on the "once in a lifetime" aspect, toying with the idea, mulling the whole amazing thing over in his mind. Did this happen to Jack Fleck? Or Roger Maris? What was Henry Moreno thinking when he held Dark Star up over Native Dancer?

For here, at the end, was Don Haskins - young coach at a school that had never before even challenged for a national title in any sport - standing brazenly in the way of Kentucky and Adolph Rupp, a combination that spread-eagles both the history and glory of college basketball. Not only that, but Kentucky '66 was really a team touched by fate, a team overlooked by nearly everyone before the season, but everybody's favorite now.


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