The Finals round of the 1982 FIBA World Championships was played at the Coliseo El Pueblo, Cali, Colombia on August 28, 1982…..with Yugoslavia vs Spain competing for 3rd Place…..while the United States vs Soviet Union was the Final game…..as both game were closely contested…..with Yugoslavia beating Spain 119 – 117 for 3rd Place….and the USSR besting the USA 95 – 94.
The USA team had not won the FIBA World Championship since 1954….and had not been in the finals since 1958…..which always seem strange since the game of basketball was founded in the United States….but this 1982 USA Team which included Jon Sundvold (Missouri University), Glenn “Doc” Rivers (Marquette University), Mitchell Wiggins Sr. (Florida State University), Antoine Carr (Wichita State University, Jeff Turner (Vanderbuilt University), Jim Thomas (Indiana University), John Pinone (Villanova University) and Earl Jones (District of Colombia University)…..who were coached by Bob Weltlick (University of Texas).
In 1982, second-year University of Texas Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds fired legendary coach Abe Lemons and hired Weltlich from the University of Mississippi to serve as the next Texas men’s basketball head coach. Nicknamed “Kaiser Bob” by Longhorn fans for his harshly disciplinarian approach, Weltlich was almost immediately faced with such a manpower shortage from the departures, both voluntary and involuntary, of so many Texas players that he famously had to press Texas male cheerleader Lance Watson into service during the Longhorns’ abysmal 6-22 season of 1982-83….for I said all of that to say this….Bone Daddy was a huge Texas Longhorn Men’s Basketball supporter (evidenced by the Comemorative Plaques in our memorabilia collection)…. who had an awesome 6 year working relationship with Coach Lemons….by sponsoring his weekly Booster Luncheon at Madison Square Garden, The Sports Place at 302 E. 6th St. in Austin….where on every Thursday during basketball season, 500 fans would cram MSG for lunch and to spend an hour with this totally unique legendary basketball coach with an incredible “spontaneous gift of gab” that was as funny as any stand-up comedian to ever grace a stage….and Coach never failed to please the crowd….on and off the court. Abe Lemons six years at Texas looked like this…..13 – 13 in year 1….26 – 5 in year 2….21 – 8 in the 3rd…..19 – 11 in the 4th….15 – 15 in the 5th….and 16 – 11 in the 6th….while posting a total of 110 wins vs 63 losses (.636 winning %)….with a 27 year career of 592 wins vs. 343 losses (.633 winning %) So, simply put, UT Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds replaced a legend with a .636 winning percentage with a coach who had 77 wins vs 98 losses over a comparible 6 year period….and Bone Daddy has never forgiven the University of Texas for allowing this to happen….as he has never held AD DeLoss Dodds or coach Bob Weltlick in very high regard….and the truth be told….Bone Daddy’s blood has never ran as Orange as it did as the day that Coach Abe Lemons was fired by the University of Texas.
Anyway, Weltlick led the USA Team in the 1982 FIBA World Championship to a silver medal win by losing to the Russians 95 – 94 in this Finals game….which was a well contested game that provided the US with a last second shot to win the game….well worth watching.