HOUSTON -- It was one of the best moments of the night. In celebration of the 50-year anniversary of their national championship, the Texas Western 1965-66 team was honored at halftime of the Final Four game between Syracuse and North Carolina.
Shortly into halftime, the lights dimmed in NRG Stadium and a large canvas descended from the scoreboard to the court. An American flag was projected onto it as the scoreboard played a message from President Barack Obama commemorating the team. After the message, the canvas rose to reveal players, coaches and family members of the team standing in the middle of the court, who received a standing ovation as the crowd realized who they were. The PA announcer introduced them one-by-one:
Sports Information Director Eddie Mullens
Student Athletic Trainer Fred Schwake
No. 11 Willie Cager
Tina Hall on behalf of her late husband, No. 14 Bobby Joe Hill
No. 21 Jerry Armtrong
No. 22 Louis Baudoin
No. 23 Orsten Artis
No. 24 Willie Worsley
No. 29 Togo Railey
No. 31 Dick Myers
No. 33 Nevil Shed
No. 44 Harry Flournoy
No. 42 David Lattin
Steve Haskins on Behalf of his father, head coach Don Haskins
The President’s message spoke to how instrumental they were in breaking down barriers in basketball and beyond. The team was the first with an all-black starting lineup to win the national championship. Their story of beating Kentucky in the national championship was told in the 2006 film Glory Road.
Texas Western is now UTEP.
Honoring the 1966 Texas Western national champion team at the half. #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/qQWxKaEGuO— Emily James (@NCAAEmily) April 3, 2016
More from that recognition ofthe 1966 Texas Western team during tonight’s NCAA Final Four! pic.twitter.com/ggoRvnGXA1— Conference USA (@Conference_USA) April 3, 2016