Randy Hollis: Harold Arceneaux, Eddie Gill reflect on WSU's memorable NCAA triumph over North Carolina
OGDEN — Nearly 15 years have passed since "The Show" and "The Thrill" combined forces to help give Weber State the greatest victory in the history of the Wildcats' glory-filled basketball program.
On March 11, 1999, Harold "The Show" Arceneaux, Eddie "The Thrill" Gill and a gritty supporting cast propelled the Wildcats past North Carolina in one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history.
Indeed, it was a memorable "Show" and a "Thrill" to be there that night — especially for a Weber State grad like myself — watching the decided underdog Wildcats, a No. 14 seed coached by Ron Abegglen, take down the mighty, third-seeded Tar Heels 76-74 in an opening-round matchup of the Big Dance at Seattle's Key Arena.
Arceneaux, a smooth-shooting 6-foot-6 forward, poured in 36 points that might in Weber State's stirring win over the heavily favored Carolina team that hadn't lost a first-round game since 1978. And Gill added 16 points of his own against a storied program that's been a perennial NCAA powerhouse for decades.
Now, almost 15 years after that special night, Arceneaux and Gill were reunited for another pretty special occasion Friday, when they were inducted into the Weber State Athletic Hall of Fame along with three other former Wildcat athletes — basketball star Sessions Harlan, football standout Fine Unga and track/cross-country great Brad Barton.
Longtime WSU contributors Tom and Nancy Davidson were also honored during Friday's annual Hall of Fame ceremonies.
With this year's edition of March Madness just around the corner, it was a fine time to honor Arceneaux and Gill, who would've been inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame much sooner if their professional basketball careers and commitments hadn't kept getting in the way each year.
"It's extremely important," Gill said of Friday's induction. "I think I'll really grasp it all probably 10, 20 years from now. But knowing what the Hall of Fame means, that's a select group that you're now a part of, so it means the world to me."
"Especially when you know about all the great players that played here," added Arceneaux, "and to be among those players, it's a great thing.
"Both of us had a lot of choices coming out of junior college. I'm happy to be part of the family here. Coach A did a great job in recruiting me, came to the house and made me feel comfortable about coming to Weber State. It was just one of the best decisions I ever made."
And after what they helped the 'Cats accomplish that night in Seattle, their selection to Weber State's Hall of Fame has long since been a slam dunk.
Gill, a lightening-quick, 6-foot point guard, was awfully glad he was given that chance to play college ball with Abegglen and the Wildcats.
"What an opportunity that was given to us by Coach A," he said. " ... He kinda let us go. He gave us all the confidence in the world and he had a great system in place. We were always able to play through mistakes, play through good times and play through bad times, and he'd always say, 'Hey, just go out there and get it done.'
"And that went through the entire team, not just me and Harold. I think that was the biggest key for us."
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