Tucson a Basketball Townby Bob Elliott, Eric Money
Enter Fred Snowden. Tasked with developing a
In 1972, the University of Arizona built McKale Center, a basketball arena that seated nearly 14,000 people. Filling that arena would present considerable challenges: the Wildcats hadn't been to an NCAA post-season tournament for over two decades, and attendance at Bear Down Gymnasium, which holds 3,000, was dismal.
Enter Fred Snowden. Tasked with developing a basketball program that would justify the existence of the arena, the newly appointed head coach exceeded all expectations. He assembled a staff of high-quality assistant coaches, recruited dynamic, talented players who made the games exciting to watch, and -- perhaps most importantly -- got the Tucson community to support those players. He accomplished all of this while receiving hate mail and death threats from people who didn't approve of the Wildcats being led to victory by the first black coach in NCAA division one for a major school in a major conference.
Tucson a Basketball Town shines a light on an often overlooked chapter in UA history. Fans of the game will be sure to root for Coach Snowden as he transforms Tucson into the basketball town we know and love.
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