April 3, 2013
CHICAGO - John Egan and Rich Rochelle, two members of Loyola University Chicago's 1963 NCAA Championship men's basketball team, will join author Mike Lenehan on WTTW's (Channel 11) Chicago Tonight program Thursday night (April 4) at 7 p.m. Central. The guests will talk about that magical season for the Ramblers and all of the adversity the squad had to overcome to become the only team from the state of Illinois to have won the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Loyola's national championship, when it rallied from a 15-point, second-half deficit to knock off two-time defending champion Cincinnati, 60-58 in overtime, in the NCAA Championship game. Along the way to the championship in 1963, the Ramblers played in one of the most important games in college basketball history, a March 15 NCAA regional contest versus Mississippi State.
Loyola's integrated team featured four African-American starters and Mississippi State's all-white team had previously been prevented by an unwritten state law from playing teams with African-Americans. However, before an injunction that would have prevented the team from playing the game could be served, Mississippi State snuck out of town and traveled to East Lansing, Mich., to play in the historic contest, which was won by Loyola, 61-51, and later became known as the "Game of Change."
Lenehan recently wrote a book titled "Ramblers: The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball," which chronicles the team and all of the racial taunts it had to battle during its run to the championship.
Chicago Tonight is a public affairs series airing Monday through Thursday each week with features on Chicago life and panels discussing various topics, including Chicago politics, the arts, foreign affairs, consumer concerns, and sports.