Big Ten Basketball, 1943–1972

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About the Book

 From the time conference play began in 1905, the Big Ten was the Western force in collegiate basketball. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue were the first powers in the league, with a combined 23 titles by 1930. Purdue was dominant in the ’30s, with seven titles under Coach Piggy Lambert, including a national title in 1935 led by player of the year John Wooden. The creation of a national tournament in 1939 showed the league’s early dominance, as a different Big Ten team went to the Final Four in each of the first three years, with two wins.
Over the next 30 years, the league produced some of the top teams in the country, led by Hall of Fame coaches like Branch McCracken, Walter Meanwell, Dutch Lonborg, Harold Olsen and Fred Taylor. Top players emerged from the conference, like Jerry Lucas, Cazzie Russell, John Havlicek, Terry Dischinger, Walt Bellamy, Johnny Green, Lou Hudson, Archie Clark and a host of others. This book provides the first-ever basketball history of the Big Ten.

About the Author(s)

A professor emeritus of education and American studies at Penn State University, Murry R. Nelson has written histories of the New York Celtics, the American Basketball League, and the National Basketball League, as well as biographies of Bill Russell and Shaquille O’Neal.

Bibliographic Details

Murry R. Nelson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 38 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6471-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2561-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments  vi

Preface  1

I. Big Ten Basketball Beginnings  3

II. The Old Guard Fights the New Pretenders  13

III. Into the ’50s  25

IV. The Big Ten in the New Age of Ike  44

V. Sticking with Ike and the Traditional Powers  62

VI. Into the ’60s in the Big Ten  82

VII. The Coaches  106

VIII. The Big Ten Up for Grabs  116

IX. Michigan Muscles the League  139

X. The 1967 Season: A Year to Forget for the Big Ten  158

XI. InsurMOUNTable?  172

XII. The “Run and Gun” ’70s  190

Afterword  215

Appendix 1: The First African American Players at Each Big Ten University  217

Appendix 2: Big Ten Coaches, 1947–1972  218

Appendix 3: Big Ten Champions, 1943–1972  219

Chapter Notes  221

Bibliography  243

Index  245

Book Reviews & Awards

“Big Ten fans will appreciate Nelson’s thorough research…. It is the kind of book that die-hard Big Ten loyalists will enjoy, especially because the period covered cannot be found easily on the Internet, making it the only resources on the league’s early years…valuable”—Sport in American History.