1973 Tiger Basketball Team to Reunite in Memphis
Jan. 28, 2014
Following the tragic, 1968 assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King, racial tensions in the City of Memphis continued to boil. However, during this tumultuous time, a group of 14 young Memphis Tiger basketball players banded together and produced a magical season that helped to reunite the community. Their 1973 run to the NCAA National Championship game has been long cited as a unifying factor that helped to start the healing process for Memphis.
Now, 41-years later, the members of the team and coaching staff are reuniting in Memphis on February 7 and 8 to be honored during the Tigers’ nationally-televised game with Gonzaga. Three starters from the championship game against UCLA, forwards Larry Kenon and Billy Buford and point guard Bill Laurie, are expected to attend, as well as, their teammates and all of the members of the late Gene Bartow’s coaching staff.
“The University of Memphis has produced numerous outstanding basketball teams since the 1950s but none more renowned than the 1973 squad,” said Tiger Athletics Director Tom Bowen. “Our fans, as well as local civic leaders, are quick to point out the healing effect that this team had on the City of Memphis during a very difficult time.
“We are pleased that so many of the surviving players and coaches are coming back to enjoy a weekend of Tiger basketball,” Bowen stated. “I think that the events we have planned will be enjoyed by the members of that team and our fans alike.”
In addition to Kenon, Laurie and Buford, former Tigers Ken Andrews, Bill Cook, Clarence Jones, Shannon Kennedy, Jim Liss, Doug McKinney, Ed DeSchepper, Jerry Tetzlaff and John Washington are expected to attend. Assistant coaches Lee Hunt and Wayne Yates will be in attendance along with graduate assistant coach Ed Young and team manager Ted Turnipseed.
Events will begin with a private dinner for team members and their spouses on Friday evening. There will be a tour of athletic facilities and a luncheon on campus on Saturday followed by a halftime ceremony during the Gonzaga game Saturday night.