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Don Haskins became coach of the Texas Western College men’s basketball team during the 1961-62 season.

The civil rights movement to end discrimination against blacks was in full swing. Although the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed institutional racial segregation, it was still common to find all-white college sports teams, particularly in the South.


The 72-65 victory over Kentucky in College Park, Maryland is considered one of the most important in the history of college basketball, as it marked the first time that a team with five African-American starters won a title game. The Miners played against the Kentucky Wildcats, a team that had no African-American players during the period of the Civil Rights Movement.


More than 40 years later, we remember – and cherish – the game that changed basketball forever.

It was March 19, 1966, the night a team with five black starters made history by winning a national championship.

Texas Western, now UTEP, defeated Kentucky, a win that accelerated the advancement of black athletes in the South. All-white leagues like the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southwestern Conference and Southeastern Conference became integrated within the next two years.


Enter the Bear’s den where you will find memorabilia from the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship, including photo galleries, videos, brochures, pamphlets, 1966 event guides, books and more.


Navigate through the zone to find videos, news clips, audio recordings, stories and accounts of the team that changed intercollegiate athletics.

UTEP Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Historic 1966 NCAA Championship Win

Fifty years ago, a small school in West Texas quietly climbed the national collegiate basketball rankings. Against all odds, the team achieved the impossible: an NCAA title after starting five African-American players in the championship game. The win has been a point of pride for The University of Texas at El Paso ever since.


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