It was forty years before George Mason shocked the college hoops world that there was another true "Cinderella," and they were the Texas Western Miners. It was at the 1966 Final Four at the University of Maryland, where head coach Don Haskins led his team to a national title over powerhouse Kentucky.
On Sunday afternoon, Haskins died from congestive heart failure in his home. He was 78 years old. You may ask yourself, who was Haskins? Why are we talking about him now? What made him so special?
Haskins started African-American athletes, and unlike the Wildcats of UK, who was coached by the legendary Adolpho Rupp and had five caucasian starters, Haskins opted to start five black men and the only players who came off the bench were his black players.
What happened next changed the outlook of basketball, as Haskins led his Miners to a national championship win over a team many believe is the best ever. Haskins would stay in El Paso, Texas, where he coached the now Univeristy of Texas-El Paso for 38 years until his retirement in 1999.
Haskins garnered an illustrious record of 719-353, ranking him 19th on the Division-1 wins list. During his tenure as head ball coach, Haskins captured seven Western Athletic Conference titles, along with 14 NCAA tournament berths and seven NIT bids.
If you do not know who Don Haskins is or how monumental his accomplishments, not only in 1966, but throughout his career were, then I suggest you watch Glory Road, which tell his story and the story of him and his Miners and their conquest to take down Goliath.