Becoming Iron Men: The Story of the 1963 Loyola Ramblers

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Overview

The greatest untold story in college basketball history
 
Loyola University Chicago was ahead of its time when racial matters were forefront in a long overdue revolution in civil rights. The Ramblers of the 1962-1963 NCAA college basketball season were pioneers in race relations in sport, though most of the time they were simply playing the sport they loved.
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Overview

The greatest untold story in college basketball history
 
Loyola University Chicago was ahead of its time when racial matters were forefront in a long overdue revolution in civil rights. The Ramblers of the 1962-1963 NCAA college basketball season were pioneers in race relations in sport, though most of the time they were simply playing the sport they loved.
            When the NCAA tournament began in March, the Ramblers engaged in a series for the ages, daring to be the first NCAA Division I school to play five black athletes on the court at once and capturing the most prestigious title in college basketball at a time when states below the Mason-Dixon line still had laws on the books preventing black and white athletes from mixing even in pick-up games.
            Records were set, rivals faced, and one of the most famous and significant contests in college basketball playoff history played out in what incidentally became a model showcase for race relations. Nearly every time the Ramblers took the court, the game was unique in its magnitude.
            Relying significantly on exclusive interviews with surviving players, now in their seventies, Lew Freedman chronicles the entire journey, the adventure of the season that bound tight for a lifetime the group of men who lived through it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Just three years before The Glory Road and Texas Western’s NCAA basketball title in 1966, there were the paths paved by the Loyola Ramblers. Lew Freedman explains through dogged reporting and beautiful writing just how the Ramblers’ road was built.
—John Akers, publisher, Basketball Times
 
The story of Loyola's 1963 NCAA championship is an essential piece of college basketball history that is too often buried under more convenient or recent episodes. Lew Freedman has been one of the nation's best basketball writers for more than three decades; I can't imagine anyone doing a better job reminding us all that occurred here and why it matters.
Mike DeCourcy, college basketball columnist, Sporting News
 
The 1963 Ramblers won the NCAA basketball championship with four black starters at a time when major college teams typically had one or two. They played road games in New Orleans and Houston where racial slurs were hurled from the bleachers. To reach the finals they defeated an all-white team from Mississippi State that was forbidden to play against blacks. All of this within the crescendo of the civil rights movement just a few months before Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. There is plenty of meat on this grist, a story to be told.
—Steve Marantz, author of The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central: High School Basketball at the '68 Racial Divide
 
Finally. Lew Freedman rights a wrong and tells the story of George Ireland and his 1962-63 Loyola Ramblers, a team starting four African-Americans en route to an NCAA title at a time when even having one person of color on a major college roster was a conversation starter. Lew Freedman can tell a story, and he gets it all, giving us a picture of a vastly different college basketball world and showing us the tactics of a coach who believed the words “starter” and “finisher” to be synonyms.
—Bob Ryan, retired Boston Globe sports columnist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896728776
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2014
  • Series: Sport in the American West Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,438,600
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lew Freedman is a veteran sports journalist who has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Anchorage Daily News, and Philadelphia Inquirer. He has also written books on every sport from baseball to Alaskan dogsled racing. Among his accomplishments is being one of the most decorated award-winners in the United States Basketball Writers Association. He lives in Wyoming.

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