Sunday, February 25, 2007

UCLA Holds 40-Year Reunion of 1966-67 Squad (Includes Many Who Played in GOTC)

UCLA's 1966-67 team held a 40-year reunion yesterday in conjunction with the current Bruin team's final home game of the season, against Stanford. The UCLA-Houston Game of the Century took place the season after the '66-67 campaign (on January 20, 1968, to be exact). However, with the '66-67 Bruins' starting lineup consisting of four sophomores and a junior, it was essentially the same UCLA squad that took on UH in the Astrodome a year later. This page from the UCLA athletics site is devoted to the reunion of the '66-67 team; from it, you can also click for a gallery of still photos and a video of the halftime ceremony. Gathering with their coach John Wooden, now 96 years old, were players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor), Lucius Allen, Lynn Shackelford, and Mike Warren.

I hope that next year, as close as possible to January 20, 2008, Houston will have a similar type of 40-year reunion for the Cougar team that won the Game of the Century.


Also yesterday, Game of the Century TV announcer Dick Enberg and I were under the same roof at Texas Tech's United Spirit Arena, as the Red Raiders hosted Oklahoma State in a game televised by CBS (see February 24 entry on this CBS list of announcer assignments). When UCLA and Houston met in their classic game at the Astrodome, Enberg was an up-and-coming 33-year-old broadcaster. Now 72, Enberg is an elder statesperson of the profession, still very much going strong.

I was hoping that I might be able to go up to Enberg at courtside after the game and perhaps get a picture with him for this website. However, he got away too quickly. Enberg writes in his memoir, appropriately entitled Oh My!, about a career of tight travel deadlines -- having to catch a plane or drive in a rental car to the next gig -- as he sometimes criss-crossed the country to announce three games within roughly 36 hours in the same weekend. He no longer packs that many games into his schedule, but he still knows how to get out of an arena right after the final buzzer!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

E-Mail from Vern Lewis

I received an e-mail the other day from Vern Lewis, a member of the University of Houston basketball team during the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons. This is the first time anyone who played in the Game of the Century has been in contact with me, and I thank Vern for that.

As shown in the box score at the end of this UH basketball retrospective, Vern played four minutes in the Astrodome showdown against UCLA. I just played the DVD of the game (described in my posting immediately below the present one) over again and saw that Vern was in at the close of the first half, but apparently did not play in the second half.

In his message, Vern mentioned his continued involvement in college basketball via the South Padre Island Hoops organization, which hosts a tournament during the non-conference part of the season. In 2005, tournament officials conducted a canned-food drive at the games for the benefit of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Vern's name also comes up as part of Item 50 in this NCAA basketball trivia quiz.