Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0638
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Full Text of SR0638  97th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, In 1963, Coach George Ireland led the Loyola
3Chicago Ramblers to the NCAA basketball championship; the team
4lost only 2 games that season and led the nation in scoring
5with 91.8 points per game; and
6    WHEREAS, Coach Ireland and the Loyola University teams of
7the early 1960s are considered by many to be responsible for
8ushering in a new era of racial equality in the sport by
9shattering all color barriers in NCAA men's basketball; and
10    WHEREAS, It is difficult to appreciate what Coach Ireland
11and his team went through, starting in 1961, in breaking what
12had been a longstanding "gentleman's agreement" to not play
13more than 3 African-American players; and
14    WHEREAS, During the 1962-1963 season, Coach Ireland played
154 African American Loyola starters in every game; the Ramblers
16became the first team in NCAA Division I history to play an
17all-African-American lineup, doing so in a game against Wyoming
18in December of 1962; and
19    WHEREAS, In 1963, Loyola shocked the nation and changed
20college basketball forever by starting 4 African-American
21players in the NCAA Tournament, as well as the championship



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1game; and
2    WHEREAS, Despite their success during that season, players
3had to endure terrible bigotry, including racial taunts and
4abuse; and
5    WHEREAS, Coach Ireland received countless pieces of hate
6mail from the KKK and other racist individuals and tried to
7shield his team in every way possible; and
8    WHEREAS, The team remained focused on the sport they loved,
9despite knowing that police surrounded the sports facility
10because violence might erupt at any moment; and
11    WHEREAS, Loyola's defeat of 2-time defending NCAA champion
12Cincinnati, in overtime by a score of 60-58, was the crowning
13achievement in the school's nearly decade-long struggle with
14racial inequality in men's college basketball, highlighted by
15the tumultuous events of that year's NCAA Tournament; and
16    WHEREAS, Loyola's 1963 NCAA title was historic, not only
17because of the racial makeup of Loyola's team, but also because
18Cincinnati had started 3 black players, making 7 of the 10
19starters in the 1963 NCAA Championship game African-American;



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1    WHEREAS, The City of Chicago has many storied sports teams,
2but the Loyola Ramblers basketball team of 1963 and Coach
3Ireland hold an exalted place because they are the only
4Division I Illinois basketball team to win a national
5championship, and because they paved the way for the
6long-overdue integration of races in college basketball prior
7to the 1964 Civil Rights Act; and
8    WHEREAS, All 5 starting players from the national
9championship game graduated from Loyola with degrees; several
10went on to earn advanced degrees in law and business; and
11    WHEREAS, The journey of the Ramblers is not just the story
12of an underdog team overcoming great odds to beat favored
13Cincinnati, a much larger basketball program that held the
14number 1 ranking and had won the previous 2 national
15championships; the real significance of this coach and this
16team is the lasting impact of their bravery for having broken
17the racial barrier in college basketball that had been allowed
18to prevail for decades; and
19    WHEREAS, The 2013 Hall of Fame induction season will mark
20the 50th anniversary of the Loyola Basketball Championship; and
21    WHEREAS, Both Coach Don Haskins and the players of the 1966
22Texas Western College Miners have been inducted to the Naismith



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1Hall of Fame in recognition of their achievement as the first
2all-African-American college basketball team to win the
3national championship; therefore, be it
5ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we wholeheartedly urge
6the relevant authorities to nominate and induct Coach George
7Ireland and the 1963 Loyola Chicago basketball championship
8team into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.