Prior to 1966 African Americans were not allowed to play basketball with Caucasians. That all changed when six African American men, led by coach Don Haskins of Texas Western College, played in the March, 1966 NCAA championship and won. I believe that Don Haskins created significant change for African Americans and college basketball.
Although Don Haskins brought about change for college basketball, it was not without the historical help of Texas Western College. Texas Western was the first college to integrate its undergraduate classes in 1955. Later, Texas Western became the first University in the state of Texas to have the first black administrator. It soon became known for creating opportunities for African Americans. The NCAA win in 1966 symbolized a breakthrough for African Americans in college sports with Don Haskins paving the way.
Don Haskins was born on March 14, 1930. He played college basketball at Oklahoma A&M from 1949 through 1952. Haskins was a second team all-conference player as a senior and played as a guard and forward. In 1949 through 1951 he led Oklahoma A&M to the NCAA semifinals. In 1955 he began his coaching career began at Benjamin, Texas. From 1955 to 1956 he coached both boys and girls basketball. During the 1961-62 seasons Haskin took over the Texas Western University basketball program. In his first season at Texas Western, he obtained an 18 – 6 record. In his second season, his record was 19 – 7 and made the first of Haskins 14 NCAA tournament arrival. Haskins who was nicknamed “The Bear” lead the Miners to 719 wins as well as a national title 1966, 14 NCAA tournament appearances also, Jeven Western Athletic
Conference Championships. Haskins teams won WAC championships in 1970, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1992, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992. Haskin started to receive hate mail and death threats during and after the 66 championship. “I was simply playing the best players I had. It...