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YouTube Gold: Duke-UCLA 1964

As John Wooden starts piling up NCAA championships Duke’s expense

NCAA Photos Archive
UCLA’s Gail Goodrich drives on Duke’s Denny Ferguson

In 1964, two college basketball coaches were about to enter their primes. Vic Bubas, who was 37, was in the process of essentially inventing recruiting while John Wooden, who was 54, was on the cusp of the greatest run in college basketball history.

The two would meet at the summit in ‘64 in the championship game. Duke had lost Art Heyman the year before but despite his immense charisma and talent, Heyman was also erratic and reckless.

In ‘64, the team was built around Jeff Mullins, Jay Buckley and Hack Tyson with Jack Marin and Steve Vacendack coming off the bench.

Duke was 26-4 coming into the championship game while UCLA was 29-0.

Duke had a big team with twin towers Buckley and Tyson while UCLA was much smaller. But the Bruins pressed and were quick and ultimately it was too much for Duke to overcome.

Duke had 24 turnovers - six by Mullins - and lost 98-83.

Bubas would coach just until 1969 when he would step away, tired and burned out. He later told Mike Krzyzewski that most coaches - he specifically included Dean Smith - were not happy people.

Wooden would coach until 1975, picking up amazing players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, David Greenwood, Jamal Wilkes and many, many more.

He would also win every title between 1964 and 1975 except for 1966, when Texas Western (now UTEP) climbed to the top and 1974, when David Thompson and NC State broke his grip on the NCAA championship.

Small note: the announcer really mangles Steve Vacendak’s name.