Loyola's 1963 NCAA Championship Team Named to Basketball Hall of Fame

By Benjamin Woodard on April 2, 2013 12:03pm 

ROGERS PARK — Loyola University's 1963 men's basketball team will be the first team ever inducted into college basketball's hall of fame, the school announced.

The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, which since 2006 had inducted only coaches and individual players, will honor the NCAA Champion Loyola Ramblers team.

Fifty years ago, the team toppled two-time defending champion Cincinnati to clinch the men's Division I championship, the first and only Illinois team to win the title.

But it was a game just days before that memorialized the team in college basketball history.

When the Ramblers and Mississippi State's Bulldogs met on the court on March 15, 1963, they defied convention — and Mississippi authorities — that frowned upon teams from the state competing against opposing teams with black players. Loyola had four.

But the Mississippi State coaches, longing for a shot at a conference championship, snuck the all-white team out of the state "under the cover of darkness" to play Loyola in East Lansing, Mich., said Bill Behrns, a spokesman for Loyola.

The Ramblers ended up winning the landmark game 61-51.

The team, which was led by George Ireland and assistant coach Jerry Lyne, featured starters John Egan, Jerry Harkness, Les Hunter, Ron Miller and Vic Rouse, who were known as the "Iron Five."

The Hall or Fame induction ceremonies will be Nov. 24 at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City.

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