The 1966 Texas Western NCAA men’s basketball team was honored yesterday at a sold-out basketball game between UTEP (University of Texas-El Paso) and Western Kentucky here in El Paso. President Obama’s video was played during halftime.
The 1966 team was the first college NCAA basketball team to start five black players. Whites and Hispanics also played on the winning team. Texas Western (now UTEP) defeated Kentucky 72-65 in the historic championship game on March 19, 1966. They were coached by Don Haskins. The game was played at Cole Field House in College Park, Maryland. The book and Disney movie Glory Road were inspired by the 1966 team. The official video transcript and link are below:
“Fifty years ago, long before the Hollywood movie or the Hall of Fame inductions, a group of basketball players in El Paso – black, white, Hispanic – just wanted to win some games. They did a lot of that, because in basketball it doesn’t matter what you look like, just that you can play.
Now, the path to success wasn’t usually so clear in the America of the 1960’s. So by becoming the first team to win an NCAA title with five black starters, the Miners weren’t just champs on the court, they helped change the rules of the game off it. They didn’t know it at the time, but their contribution to civil rights was as important as any other.
Our progress demands not only Dr. Kings, but Jackie Robinsons. Not only Rosa Parks, but Aretha Franklins. Not only household names, but ordinary Americans doing their part in their own lives with their own example. That’s what we honor today – a group of Americans who laced up their shoes and moved our country forward.
That, and a pretty good basketball team. Congratulations on this anniversary.
And go Miners.”
Photo from Google Search