Readers share their favorite memories
Reliving trophy No. 2 in '62
I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing in person UC's winning the NCAA championship at Freedom Hall in Louisville with a 71-59 win over the big school up north. I attended with two other UC buddies. I shall never forget the experience — without a doubt one of the two top moments in Bearcats sports history.
Dick Gose, Bus '65
St. James Plantation, North Carolina
Glaring omission from 1946
There is a glaring and totally baffling omission in the listing of the Top 10 UC sports moments. It should certainly be included among the top five.
If there was a single history-making breakthrough moment that vaulted UC thereafter into the top tier of college football, it occurred on September 15, 1946. On that day, in their season opener, the unheralded Bearcats took on Indiana, the then-reigning undefeated 1945 Big Nine champion. Under coach Ray Nolting, they accomplished a monumental upset, defeating the Hoosiers in Bloomington, 15-6. That headline-making game, and the remainder of the season that followed it, led to UC’s first bowl game in the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Day, where they defeated Virginia Tech, 18-6.
The Go Bearcats website says it all: “The 1946 season remains as one of the most magical in Cincinnati history.”
Read more about this season
Stan Cohen, A&S '50
Newport Beach, California
It was the annual Thanksgiving football rivalry between UC and Miami. Both teams had great quarterbacks: Brig Owens for UC and Ernie Kellerman for Miami.
They fought back and forth the entire game until Miami led by only one or two points with only a few seconds to go in the game. Jimmy O'Brien (he was later the star place kicker for Baltimore Colts) not only had a strong game receiving passes from Owens, but he kicked a very long field goal to win the game for UC.
Interestingly, both quarterbacks were drafted into the NFL and became all-pro defensive backs, Owens for the Redskins and Kellerman for the Browns. It was the most exciting game and finish I ever witnessed at the Thanksgiving classics.
Tom Fulks, Eng '58
Lakewood Ranch, Florida
A family favorite
I always appreciate my editions of the UC Magazine. The Top 10 moments in Bearcats sports history was phenomenal. I couldn't have come up with a better list. Most people remember the Sugar Bowl as Tim Tebow's last college game. I remember it more fondly since I was there with my wife, son (incoming freshman to UC this year) and daughter (UC Class of '21). The players, coaches and UC staff were great with my family and the other alumni that were there that week.
Matthew Miller, Ed '93, M (Ed) '99
Inspired by Oscar
Four years with the Big O — all his home games in the Armory Fieldhouse — I was a Bear Kitten with the UC Band. What an inspiration Oscar is — from the shy freshman in 1956 to the national hero in 2014. We share a great friendship! I knew in those days I was watching history in the making.
Haldane Dosher Higgins, Ed '60
A thrilling note
I played French horn in the Bearcat Band. We didn't play at basketball games very often, but we played at least once in '61. As we ended the Cincinnati Fight Song, in my enthusiasm, I concluded the song with a trill. The band director, Robert Hornyak, gave me a look as if to say, "What the $#& are you doing?"
Daniel Driscoll, Eng '61
Knox, New York
Witness to greatness
I was there for No. 1 and No. 2 as an undergraduate electrical engineer co-op student from September 1959 through June 1964. These were great unexpected years. I also remember competing against Tom Thacker (at a rival high school), while I attended CCH. Also great years.
Larry Emark, Eng '64
Pitt in person and an 'instant classic'
While I was present in Pitt for No. 5, an argument can be made that the 1999 victory over Wisconsin put UC Football back on the map. It ended up being Wisconsin's only loss and cost them a shot at the national championship.
Similarly, the 2002 game against Ohio State was an instant classic. In hindsight, seeing that OSU ended up being national champions, UC almost duplicated crushing a Big Ten team's title hopes.
Charles Albertone, Eng '02
Sanders' buzzer beater at the Shoe
Nov. 25, 1989, was the school's first game under Bob Huggins in their new arena [Shoemaker]. Steve Sanders, a walk-on football player, hit the buzzer-beating 3-pointer to defeat the No. 20 Minnesota Gophers.
Dennis Back, UC fan
Looking back at the early '60s
I was a student during the reign of UC basketball. In 1961, nobody, especially the Cincy police, expected us to win. So they were not prepared for the post-championship celebration, which was very mild compared to what happened at Maryland, about 20 miles from my home, whenever it is lucky enough to beat Duke.
In the week prior to the '62 Final Four, Sports Illustrated wrote, “Ohio State all the Way.” One of our classmate's father was a top executive at a local hospitality worker's union, and the father gave Friday night’s tickets to his son, so we had three tickets behind the UCLA Bench [for the semi-final game]. The hotels in Louisville, Kentucky were pretty bad and jammed, so my friends and I stayed at a flop house along with others who could not find better accommodations. I think it was $1.10, plus tax and a real eye-opener for me.
Anyway, on Friday we had about an 18-point lead (remember that was 50 plus years ago) and before the UCLA domination of the later years. In the second half, UCLA started firing like machine guns from all over the court, and I think we won by 2 or so. As for tickets for the championship game, this was the age of innocence when tickets were reasonably priced, so we bought three tickets scattered around Freedom Hall. In most cases, the seller simply had tickets he/she wanted to dump and could be bought below cost. Think of That, BELOW COST! As for the game itself, the great Jerry Lucas had hurt his knee in Friday's game, and so we had an easy time. A couple of side notes: The NIT was the tournament! The NCAA was not even televised nationally until 1963. I watched the rerun on Sunday afternoon when arriving back at my rooming house.
It was a great disappointment in 1963 when UC lost to Loyola of Chicago. We had a big lead and then to lose by playing stall ball. President Langsam said if we won he would close the school on Monday, so I drove back home to Youngstown to watch the game. But Sunday Morning the car was headed back to Cincinnati.
David Diser, Bus '65