On many levels, this is an extremely valuable piece of video footage here at ImaSportsphile….as the 1978 game between the DePaul Deamon Deacons verse the Texas Longhorns….featured really outstanding players on both teams….with DePaul’s dynamic duo of future 1st round draft pick Mark Aguirre….along with future 18 year NBA star, Terry Cummings….while the Horns boasted an incredible “triple fanged monster” of a 3-guard set including an “assassin eye” shooter in Jim Krivacs….a “bear in the woods” power guard, who loved to drive the lane in Ron Baxter….and a “drive it down your throat then pick your pocket” point guard in Johnny Moore, of San Antonio Spurs fame….with nine of his twelve year career as a Spur.
But to those of us here at ImaSportsphile…..with all the star power on the floor ….it was the coaches on the benchs that made this video so valuable…..as this game featured two absolute legends of college basketball coaching in Ray Meyer of DePaul University….and Abe Lemons of the University of Texas…..cuz these were two really great ones.
Ray Meyer (December 18, 1913 – March 17, 2006) was an American men’s collegiate basketball coach from Chicago, Illinois…..who is well known for coaching at DePaul University from 1942 to 1984….while compiling a 724 – 354 record…..and coaching DePaul to 21 post-season appearances….with 13 in the NCAA and 8 in the N.I.T.
In total, Meyer recorded 37 winning seasons and twelve 20-win seasons….including seven straight from 1978 to 1984….wherein, two of his teams reached the Final Four in 1943 and 1979….plus, Meyer led DePaul past Bowling Green to capture the National Invitation Tournament (N.I.T.)….which is the school’s only post-season title.
Meyer coached a College All-Star team that played a coast-to-coast series against the Harlem Globetrotters for 11 years….in which one of his best players was George Mikan, who was a game-changing player and basketball’s first great “big man”…..as Meyer recruited Mikan from Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, a school Meyer had himself earlier attended.A.E.
“Abe” Lemons (November 21, 1922 -– September 2, 2002) was an American college basketball player and coach. As a head coach at Oklahoma City University, Pan American University and the University of Texas at Austin….he compiled a record of 594–343 in 34 seasons.
Lemons spent 25 years as head coach at OCU….with his first 18 years being from 1955 – 1973….during which he led OCU to a 309-181 record….with two NIT berths…and seven NCAA tournament appearances in 1956, 1957, 1963–1966 and 1973….as OCU also won the All-College Tournament in 1965. Lemons coached several All-America & future NBA players, such as Arnold Short, Hub Reed, Johnny Moore and LaSalle Thompson.
He took the head coaching position at the University of Texas in 1976….and turned an “upside-down” program coming off losing season in the three previous years into a N.I.T. championship team in less than 3 years at Texas….where he also served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1977….while being named National Coach of the Year in 1978. Lemons’ last season at Texas was 1981–82….and seriously beating North Carolina State in the finals of the N.I.T. in 1978.
With all of that being said….our Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile had a “handshake agreement” with Longhorn Coach Abe Lemons….who came to speak at his sports bar Madison Square Garden for 6 seasons every Thursday during season….in a very successful event called “Lunch with Abe”…..which drew an average of 500 fans to listen to a brilliant basketball mind talk about the game as if it were his “straight man” for stand-up comedy routine. Bone Daddy often says how much Abe Lemons made him laugh…..and still today, he will think about Abe…..and start to laught. Bone Daddy that with all the brilliant basketball in Coach’ mind….and all the humor in his mouth….that what he loved most about Abe was that he established himself as a “teacher of men”….not only in sports, but in the values of life….which has been proven by the success and leadership accomplishments of his students and players. In 1990, Abe was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.