Monday, February 20, 2006
"Glory Road" is one of the best sports movies I've seen in a long time. It tells the story of the 1966 men's basketball team at West Texas University at El Paso, which has the distinction of being the first all-black team to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Josh Lucas plays Coach Don Haskins who put together the team, the Miners -- over the objections of university alums not accustomed to seeing a team that looked different than themselves.
The Miners faced the University of Kentucky Wildcats (who had previously won the tournament 4 times) in the final game. Famed basketball coach Adolph Rupp, known as The Baron, coached the Wildcats and is played by Jon Voight in the movie. Pat Riley played for this Wildcats team.
The movie captures the discrimination the team faced throughout the season, particularly on the road.
I wanted to see "Glory Road" when it first came out but never got around to it. It's been in the news this week because USC Head Coach Tim Floyd was an assistant coach for several years for Haskins. This Wednesday night there's going to be a dinner at the White House to honor Haskins and his team. Floyd was invited but is unable to attend because the Trojans have a game on Thursday. Floyd will be represented by his wife.