July 3, 2013
CHICAGO - The 1963 Loyola University Chicago men's basketball team will be presented with the Living Legends Award at the sports banquet as part of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual Convention, on July 9 at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. Members of Loyola's 1963 squad will be in attendance along with players from the Mississippi State squad that faced the Ramblers on March 15 of that season in the famous Game of Change.
During its magical run to the 1963 NCAA championship, the Loyola men's basketball team played one of the most important games in college basketball history when it faced Mississippi State in an NCAA Regional semifinal contest in East Lansing, Mich.
Because Loyola fielded an integrated team that featured four African-Americans in its starting lineup, Mississippi State was forbidden to play the game according to an unwritten state law that forbid games against integrated squads. Bound and determined to have his team play the contest, Mississippi State head coach Babe McCarthy snuck his team out of town before it could be served an injunction by Gov. Ross Barnett.
Loyola won that historic contest, which later became known as the Game of Change, 61-51, en route to winning its first ever NCAA title, and in this past December, the two teams met for the first time since that game 50 years ago, with the Ramblers picking up a 59-51 victory.
As part of the day on July 9, a viewing of the documentary "Game of Change," followed by a panel discussion featuring Jerald Harkness (producer of "Game of Change"), Robbie Coblentz (producer of "One Night in March"), and Sid Salter (Director of University Relations, Mississippi State University), will take place at 2 p.m. at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.
The Living Legends Award is just one of many the 1963 Ramblers have received on the 50-year anniversary of their championship run. On September 18, the team will be inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and on November 24, it will become the first squad ever to be enshrined in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City.