"The Loyola Ramblers have too often been forgotten for their role in basketball's cultural history. They remain a significant, uplifting story." --Frank Deford
"If you're interested in the history of [Chicago], interested in the history of college basketball in the city, and racial history—in not just the city but the country—then you should check out [Ramblers]. " – Laurence Holmes, WSCR-AM host and NBC5 anchor
In 1963, the Loyola Chicago Ramblers defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 60–58 in the NCAA men's basketball championship, coming from behind to upset the two-time defending champions in a buzzer-beating overtime thriller. What elevated this particular game from one of Chicago's most memorable sports victories into one for the history books was the transgressive lineups fielded by both teams: the Bearcats started three African-American players, and the Ramblers had four. When Americans tuned in to watch the game (one of the first NCAA championships to be broadcast nationally), they saw for the first time a sight we take for granted today: most of the players on the floor were black. Ramblers tells the story of that game, and of the teams and players that helped change public perceptions of who could and couldn't succeed on the court.
Today basketball is played mostly "above the rim" by athletes of all backgrounds and colors. But 50 years ago it was a floor-bound game, and the opportunities it offered for African-Americans were severely limited. Ramblers is an entertaining, detail-rich look back at the unlikely circumstances that went into creating Loyola's championship squad. Along the way, author Michael Lenehan also explores the in-depth stories of two Loyola opponents: Mississippi State, the all-white team that defied state policy by sneaking out of Mississippi to play in the NCAA tournament; and Cincinnati, the two-time defending NCAA champions, who were heavily favored going into the championship game.
While on the surface this is a story about basketball, the book goes deeper to illuminate how sport in America both typifies and drives change in the broader culture. The social-historical realities of the 1950s and 1960s are brought to stark life in Lenehan's telling, illustrating the challenges all of these teams confronted in the effort simply to play their game against the worthiest opponents. At its heart, Ramblers is a profound story about American history, culture, and society at a dramatic crossroads.
Subtitle Loyola Chicago 1963 — The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball
Author Michael Lenehan
BISAC Subject Heading SPO004000 SPORTS & RECREATION / Basketball
Audience 01 General / trade
Title First Published 15 March 2013
Apple Parental Advisory No
ONIX Adult Audience Rating 00 Unrated
Nb of pages
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572841406
Reference no. 978-1-57284-140-6
Publication Date 15 March 2013
Dimensions 6 x 9 in.
Weight 18 oz.
List Price $16.00
Ramblers presskit ( pdf 187 KB )
Apr 4, 2013
But even more than digging up the backstory of the hardcourt's ultimate one-hit wonder, he convincingly constructs a narrative, told with acumen and suspense—that this team, that this national- Brian Hieggelke
If you're interested in the history of [Chicago], interested in the history of college basketball in the city, and racial history—in not just the city but the country—then you should check out [Ramblers]. -Laurence Holmes, WSCR-AM host and NBC5 anchor Mar 8, 2013
Author Michael Lenehan writes about the significance of the 1963 NCAA championship game for the New York Times.
A Final and a Beginning
-Michael Lenehan Mar 3, 2013
"Mike Lenehan's Ramblers aims to go behind the headlines about racial integration and the 1963 NCAA regional semifinals."
The story behind the story of the game that changed college basketball
-Michael Miner Mar 6, 2013
Q & A with Michael Lenehan, author of Ramblers
-Paul Engelman Apr 3, 2013