Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Seeking First-Person Accounts of GOTC

In recent days, I've been trying to publicize this site by posting messages on what I think are relevant Internet discussion boards and e-mailing select individuals who I think might be interested. My message announcing the creation of the Game of the Century website received some nice comments on a Houston Cougars discussion board, but not a single response on the parallel message I posted on a UCLA board.

Among the comments posted on the UH board, one person noted that first-person accounts of the game by those who attended or watched live on television would be a nice addition. If anyone who saw the game live wants to compose something and e-mail it to me (, I'd be happy to post it. Until that happens, however, we'll need to rely on linking to first-person accounts that already exist on the web.

One such account I found is that of former (1957–1979, 1988-1994) UH Sports Information Director Ted Nance (the frequently used abbreviation for that position is S.I.D., but, as you'll see, the way the headline of the article is structured, it could easily give someone the impression his name is "Sid Nance").

The article with Nance's recollections characterizes him as having been "associated with the Cougars almost from the first day he set foot on campus in 1953."

Nance's recollections of the 1968 UH-UCLA game are pretty extensive, so I'll just provide some excerpts (the totality of Nance's reflections can be seen by clicking on the aforementioned link to the full article):

When asked about his most vivid memory of his nearly 40 years with the University, Nance is quick to respond, "It would be the Houston-UCLA basketball game. It was a game of national championship caliber, the largest crowd in history (52,693) and the first nationally televised game. It just had a different aura about the whole game. It was something special.

"I had bought 50 tickets to the game early on because I just knew people would be calling me for tickets at the last minute. And sure enough, everbody was calling. That's the best move I ever made.

"The game was back and forth, back and forth the whole way. Alcindor had an eye problem, but that was a great-built-in alibi for Johnny Wooden. I think Alcindor hit eight of 10 free throws, so it didn't affect him that much.

"What affected his shooting more than anything was that he had several shots blocked by Hayes. Hayes was just red hot. It wasn't so much a case of UCLA not being good, it was that Hayes had probably the career game of his life. I think he had something like 28 points at halftime. Everytime he did anything the crowd just roared."

Nance has been honored both by UH and by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).