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The Bear Steps Down

Don Haskins, who won one of the pivotal games in college history when Western
Texas, with five black starters, (now UTEP) defeated Adolph Rupp's lily-white
Kentucky  team in the 1966 NCAA Finals,
has announced his retirement.
The most memorable moment of that game was
probably Bobby Joe Hill stripping Pat Riley (yes, that Pat Riley) twice in a row
in the open court  for layups.  That team also had one of the great
nicknames of college history, Big Daddy Latin.

Unfortunately, in recent years UTEP's program has run into various scandals
and recruiting issues, things which might have finished him were he not such an

Trivia note: had Bob Verga not been dreadfully sick, Duke would likely have
beaten UK in that Final Four - and would today likely be remembered as the last all-white team to compete for the national championship (sidebar: during the Celtic's last win, we
remember watching and thinking "what looks funny here?" Then we
realized the Celtics had five white guys on the court - Bird, Walton, McHale,
Ainge, and Jerry Sichting). So thanks to the Wildcats for saving us for that
fate. Given Adolph Rupp's reputation as a racist - which UK fans will tell you
is exaggerated - it's hard to imagine Vic Bubas carrying the same stigma. 
But who knows.  It's a hypothetical we're happy to raise but glad we don't
have to answer.

Anyway, the time has come for the Bear to take off his clip-on and shamble
off-stage.  He was a good coach in many ways, and one of the last of the
lifers who stay at a school for their careers - Smith, Haskins, Crum - it thins
out after that.