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Book remembers BYU's forgotten 1951 NIT champions

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  • iNKSpot Wilsonville, OR
    Dec. 21, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    Boyd Jarman, a reserve player on that team, told his seminary students of the remarkable (miraculous?) play that sent the semi-final game into overtime. This play occurred decades before there was a three-point line, or there would have been no overtime. The Cougars were down by two and in-bounding the ball from the far end of the court with only a couple of seconds left. The strongest passer was to pass to the strongest shooter, stationed at half-court. But the in-bounding pass was so strong that the shooter, jumping up, barely grazed the ball with his fingertips, and the ball arched into the basket. The opponents were in such a state of shock and awe that they never recovered during the ensuing overtime.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Dec. 16, 2011 9:37 p.m.

    What a yawner of a post Swoop.
    Conference affiliation is indeed relevant. Otherwise BYU would belong to a real one by now.
    Sad part is, BCS conferences don't view a WAC legacy as being relevant.

  • Swoop Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    PAC 12 loves U

    You have no proof that Utah basketball will ever be anything more than a cellar dweller.

    During the Dave Rose era:

    BYU 167-47 (78%)
    Utah 96-102 (48%)

    ___________________

    Seattle

    BYU fans aren't knocking Utah for being in a BCS conference (although that term is meaningless in the context of basketball), BYU fans are knocking Utah fans for pretending that conference affiliation is relevant when Utah is one of the worst basketball programs in the entire country.

    Sagarin ranks 345 Division 1 Teams

    at #330, Utah is in the bottom 5%

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Dec. 16, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    @UU32

    No troll behavior is epitomized by the post directly above yours. When a utah "fan" creates multiple screen names, several of them pretending to be BYU fans, and then posts calling out BYU fans that is the very definition of "troll". utah "fans" win that contest hands down, no questions asked, without a doubt, all the way, totally and completely, no competition, in its entirety, etc.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 16, 2011 1:41 p.m.

    TJ - if you want to see troll behavior, go over and look at the article on Utah basketball looking to snap the 8 game losing streak.

  • No Conference Will Take Us SEATTLE, WA
    Dec. 16, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    Cougars - Wise Older Brothers | 8:42 p.m. Dec. 15, 2011
    Anaheim, CA
    NOA

    "They are in, BYU is not."

    And yet the insecurity of our little brothers makes it impossible for them to stop obsessing about BYU. Every major conference has its bottom dwellers; the Utes are settling in nicely to their new role.

    --

    Insecurity = fellow BYU fans knocking Utah for belonging to a BCS conference.
    No conference will take us.

  • PAC 12 loves U Sandy, Utah
    Dec. 16, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Cougars - Foolish Little Brothers

    "You call being winless against D1 teams, a 19-point thumping on your home court, and losing 10 of the last 11 to your big brother enjoying your "elite" role?"

    Our basketball program is down and probably will be down for a few years. But it won't last. I remember back in the day when little brother BYU's basketball program was down back in the 90's. 1996 the Cougars were 1-25 and Utah was nearly peaking during the Majerus era. Utah has played for the National Championship and BYU has never made a Final Four appearance (even with Jimmer). The point I'm making is most schools have their rock bottom years and the glory years. BYU hit rock bottom in the 90's while Utah had their glory years during the same time period. Today, Utah has hit rock bottom and BYU is having success. Enjoy your success in basketball little brother.

  • Cougars - Wise Older Brothers Anaheim, CA
    Dec. 16, 2011 6:54 a.m.

    PAC 12 loves U

    You call being winless against D1 teams, a 19-point thumping on your home court, and losing 10 of the last 11 to your big brother enjoying your "elite" role?

  • PAC 12 loves U Sandy, Utah
    Dec. 15, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    @ Cougars - Foolish Little Brothers

    "And yet the insecurity of our little brothers makes it impossible for them to stop obsessing about BYU. Every major conference has its bottom dwellers; the Utes are settling in nicely to their new role".

    Aww....Isn't it cute seeing our little brother beating his chest acting all superior?.........Thump! 54-10; Big brother from the hill goes down to Provo and puts little brother in his place of the pecking order.

    We are enjoying our new "elite" role now, thank you very much! Who are you referencing as "bottom dwellers"? Obviously that can't be Utah considering they finished in the middle the Pac-12 this year. Who are you talking about little brother?

  • Cougars - Wise Older Brothers Anaheim, CA
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    NOA

    "They are in, BYU is not."

    And yet the insecurity of our little brothers makes it impossible for them to stop obsessing about BYU. Every major conference has its bottom dwellers; the Utes are settling in nicely to their new role.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Dec. 15, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    TJ said:

    "unclerico and snowman;
    I can just hear your squeaky little voices cracking in protest over another article about a superior BYU athletic team.
    desperately trolling BYU articles is no way to go through life. Move on and learn to appreciate the truth."

    Would you like a little green jello with your rhodes roll?
    The same goes for BYU fans trolling articles about Utah belonging to the Pac 12. They are in, BYU is not.
    Move on and learn to appreciate the truth.

  • Solomon the Wise Alpine, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    Why are the trolls so bothered to learn that BYU has a long history of success in both football and basketball?

  • TheSportsAuthority Arlington, VA
    Dec. 15, 2011 6:15 p.m.

    Naval Vet

    "Wow! That 60-yr old NIT title must have been pretty important..."

    Certainly more important than that even older 1944 NCAA title won playing an entire season of pickup games while most of the country was off fighting a world war.

  • TrollPolice Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    SLC Sports Fan

    Sorry jealous Utah troll, but your pipe dream of BYU dropping sports will never happen. It is laughable that you whine about BYU "typically" only getting 10,000 to 15,000 fans to games, when even your low-end prediction (grossly underestimated) is well above the average of every team in the PAC 12.

    Get over your self-righteous whining and stop hating.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Dec. 15, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    "I find this article full of nonsense, particularly that the NIT champion was more prestigious even in those days as the NCAA. Not true to say the least"

    Sorry #1 - your "opinion" is with a very small minority.

  • Riddles in the Dark Olympus Cove, Utah
    Dec. 15, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    Bleed Crimson

    Two words: READING COMPREHENSION

    What you posted:
    royalblue said: "The nit was a National Tournament in 1951, therefore, its winner is a national champion. End of story".

    What royalblue really posted:
    "Even though Ute fans insist on pretending otherwise, the simple truth is Utah has won three national tournaments, but NO national championships in basketball."

    The NIT and NCAA were competing national tournaments in 1944, 1947, and 1951, with the NIT generally accepted as the more prestigious tournament, but neither tournament winner was automatically recognized as the national champion.

    From 1939, when the NCAA Tournament started, the Helms Athletic Foundation and NCAA Division I champions were the same, except for 1939-40-44-54 when Oregon, Indiana, Utah, and La Salle respectively won the tournament.

    Utah won three national tournaments in 1916, 1944 and 1947, but NO national championships.

    Basketball National Champions - Helms Athletic Foundation
    1916 Wisconsin (20-1) (Utah 11-0)
    1944 Army (15-0) (Utah 22-4)
    1947 Holy Cross (27-3) (Utah 19-5)

    As you can see, Utah had a significantly worse record in all three seasons than the team that was actually named the national champion.

  • #1 SLC Sports Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    I find this article full of nonsense, particularly that the NIT champion was more prestigious even in those days as the NCAA. Not true to say the least!

    If BYU continues college athletics it should only be to the scope and offering of the WCC, which at the very least means droping a football program that has become contradictory to the mission of the LDS Church rather than exposing it...it merely exposes future potential LDS Church converts to LDS athletes playing on Sunday if they make the NFL. Basketball doesn't need the big huge carnivorous Marriott Center any more. Baylor might bring in 22,000+ fans but typically 10,000-15,000 is all even a winning BYU team can attract. If BYU has a pile of money they can rebuild the Smith Field-house and demolish the Marriott Center and instead build a 20,000 seaauditoriumum for devotionals.

    All BYU does is cheapen the mission of state schools like Utah State University, whom they pushed aside back in 1961 when the original WAC was formed. With this more recent alignmentment BYU is now a surplus school that should further be reduced in relevance.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 4:18 p.m.

    When an article like this spawns a comments like these, you know it is time for the rivalry to go away.

    Enough already! Obviously both sides of the rivalry are a bit insecure.

  • MJB Tooele, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    I think I'll have to get a copy of the book. My uncle was student body President at BYU in 1951, the year he was married (in Sept) and the year before me and my twin cousins were born. Hopefully it will be good reading.

  • giantfan Farmington, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    Typical Naval Vet, criticizing the poster without one shred of ability to criticize the post(s).

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    Dec. 15, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    @ royalblue and cougarinboston

    I'm getting different responses from you two on who was crowned National Champions back in the 40's and 50's between Utah and BYU.

    cougarinboston said:
    "Even though Ute fans insist on pretending otherwise, the simple truth is Utah has won three national tournaments, but NO national championships in basketball".

    royalblue said:
    "The nit was a National Tournament in 1951, therefore, its winner is a national champion. End of story".

    Utah has won the 1947 NIT Tournament, but cougarinboston is claiming Utah has no National Championships in basketball. So here royalblue is proclaiming BYU is National Chmapions in 1951 for winning the NIT 4 years after Utah won the NIT. Either both Utah and BYU have won National Championships in basketball for winning the NIT back in the old days, or neither of the two schools do and the NCAA Tournament crowns National Champions which Utah won in 1944. Take your pick!

    As I said before Utah won a National Championship back in 1916 for winning the National AAU Tournament. National AAU Tournament was the most prestigious basketball tournament in those days long before the NIT and NCAA tournaments came about.

  • JustTheTruthMan bountiful, ut
    Dec. 15, 2011 11:40 a.m.

    I will have to point out that the NIT is only the oldest post season tournament by one year...... NCAA.com will verify that if you are present enough to know how to find it!

  • guitarboy South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    vN wonders many things. vN doesn't seem interested in PAC12 basketball, or in the quality of basketball played in the Huntsman. vN seems interested in what BYU fans are saying about BYU basketball. vN seems concerned that BYU fans are talking about a 60-yr old NIT title.

    Okay vN, let's talk current basketball.

    61-42, last Saturday.

    At the Huntsman Center, BYU "[took] a 61-42 win in front of 10,327 evenly split fans wearing blue and red, but even the Cougars werent crowing about their sixth straight win over the Utes."
    --Salt Lake Tribune, December 10, 2011.

    "Utah basketball: The nations worst team? Utes looking like a good fit"
    --Salt Lake Tribune, December 9, 2011.

    Interesting how the vN-infected among us can criticize anything basketball related when vN's own team might lose to Lone Peak High if such a game were played. vN's team has absolutely no chance against BYU, or Cal State Fullerton for that matter. You'd have to go back a few years to find a Utah team capable of beating BYU. But that would be living in the past, and that isn't valid. Right, vN?

  • Carnak Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    Congratulations to this team for winning the NIT and to the Utah team for their victory approximately 50 years ago.

    Some of the people commenting on these boards really need to get a life and a perspective of what is important and what isn't. I am sure the relationships between the players that has lasted for decades and their personal experiences on the court together is the most critical aspect of their basketball experience. The level of competition, who won the most prestigeous tournament and whose school has more banners than the other is left to those fans who have lost the perspective that the players who played those games still have.

  • guitarboy South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    Uncle Rico, your post contains some facts and is missing others.

    True that the 1951 final AP poll ranked BYU no. 11 (and the final coaches poll ranked BYU no. 10). Did you bother to look at the date of those polls? March 6, 1951. Did you bother to note the date of the 1951 NIT championship game? March 18, 1951. In those days, final polls were released before the tournaments were played to determine the champion.

    Other facts: The Cougars defeated, among others, AP #10 St. Louis and AP #13 Dayton to win the 1951 NIT and national title. Notable players on that team include: Mel Hutchins, taken #2 in the 1951 NBA draft and named the 1951-52 NBA co-rookie of the year, became a 5-time NBA All-Star with the Pistons and the Knicks.

    New York Times reported March 18, 1951, "The BYU Cougars have won the 1951 National Championship."
    See (Google) BYU News Net for documentation.

    The New York Times certainly was not (and never has been) biased in favor of BYU.

    A more complete view of history than Uncle Rico's reveals BYU was the 1951 national champion in basketball.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Dec. 15, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    Wow! That 60-yr old NIT title must have been pretty important to that geographically challenged Spokane, WA resident "cougarinboston", for him to post about its "prestige" 3 consecutive times within a 40-min. window. How desperate of him. I only wonder if he knows about ANOTHER one of the cougars' notable achievements: Most NCAA tournament appearances without a Final Four presence.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Dec. 15, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    Mr. Harmon, I'm not a fan of too many of your articles, but I have to admit- I really enjoyed reading this one! Thanks for pulling back the curtains to a very awe-inspiring team and players!

  • Jake2010 bountiful, ut
    Dec. 15, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    Oh trolls..... Will you ever learn?

  • NT Springville, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    My dad, who was on that team but chose instead to serve a full-time mission that year, will probably not be included in this book, a book about the "forgotten"

    My dad - father of 5 boys, father of 5 returned missionaries - former mission president (twice) - is my "national champ"

    My dad...not forgotten.

    :)

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    unclerico and snowman;
    I can just hear your squeaky little voices cracking in protest over another article about a superior BYU athletic team.
    desperately trolling BYU articles is no way to go through life. Move on and learn to appreciate the truth.

  • Straitpath PROVO, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 9:01 a.m.

    I was in the seventh grade during this golden era. I got a little plastic radio for Christmas and would stay up late listening to the BYU games as they traveled the country. I have been a die hard fan of this wonderful basketball team ever since.

  • Luv 2 Troll U Sandy, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    Mountain DEW Cougars, (isn't that against the honor code or something?)

    You're funny.

    Why is there even an article about this? It's been more than half a century ago. Nobody cares, just like BYU's AWARDED (not earned) 1984 NC.

    -You're friendly neighborhood Ute troll.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    In this era college players were college students who happened to be good enough to play a sport. Colleges did not recruit as much nor did they seek players that could not do college work in the classroom. Often "athletes" were passed up because of intelligence or character because schools had standards. Today, it is not even necessary to read or write to play college basketball if you are good enough. College sports have become semi-pro in basketball and football because these two sports earn the money to support the athletic department and bring donations from boosters. Which is better? I like the idea of players being students first. I think we have gone too far toward accomodating the "athlete" at the expense of the student.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    For BYU fans, I guess living in 1984 wasn't enough...now you're moving back to living in 1951.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    Those Trolls, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Don't you have better things to do?

    We, Cougar fans, blah, blah, blah and blah are proud about this.

    By the way, I did noticed this 1951 NIT Championship in the nose bleed section wall, is it on the rafter at all? Thanks for bringing this up Mr Harmon you blah, blah, blah, (nothing personal).

  • Old Timer the boonies, mexico
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    Technology has given us all the ability to express our opinions publicly. What really is that worth? Could it have anything to do with todays indecisivness, inability to compromise, cause hard feelings, make people arguementive? Yes.
    I would suggest to all of you younguns to read this book and pay attention to how competitive people treated one another, which was much more compassionate. This is something that is absolutely missing today. Argue, put down, dictate, be greedy that seems to be todays slogan for the 15-50 yr olds. Totally disgusting.

  • Coyoteghost Saint George, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    My younger brother, Robert Craig, played guard on that 1951 BYU team. His son, Steven Craig, played the other guard on Danny Ainge's team later on.

    An interesting note was a game that the 1951 Cougars played in Brazil that year. My brother, standing out of bounds at one end of the court, made a pass to Mel Hutchins, standing in-bounds at the other end of the court. The ball missed Mel and went through the basket. A plaque was later added to the spot from where Bob threw the ball, commemorating, "The Longest Basket in Brazilian History".

  • Tim Flaherty Gilbert, AZ
    Dec. 15, 2011 7:15 a.m.

    Can't wait to get my hands on the book. My late father, who was captain of the BYU football that year, was a roommate of Mel Hutchins. I remember him reminiscing often about Hutchins, Richey, and others on that team and how they captivated and electrified the entire student body during their championship run. It was, according to my father, a magical time and experience at BYU. Thanks for bringing to life the year (1951); the team; the championship; and, in a certain way for me, my father; with the publication of this book.

  • royalblue Alpine, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 6:57 a.m.

    Bleed Crimson

    Even though Ute fans insist on pretending otherwise, the simple truth is Utah has won three national tournaments, but NO national championships in basketball.

  • cougarinboston Orem, UT
    Dec. 15, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    In 1951, the media crowned BYU National Champions. There were no post-season polls. Also, history is clear that the nit was at least considered equal to the NCAA tournament at that time. That's not really a debate. Unless of course, you are a Utah fan who does not want to recognize that BYU won a National Championship in basketball in 1951, that was more legitimate than the 1944 Utah NCAA title. You can no more say that BYU was not the 1951 National Champion because of their regular season ranking than you can say that Uconn is not the 2011 National Champion because of their regular season ranking. The nit was a National Tournament in 1951, therefore, its winner is a national champion. End of story.

  • cougarinboston Spokane, WA
    Dec. 15, 2011 12:28 a.m.

    The NIT was as prestigious as the NCAA in 1951. First of all, several NIT teams REJECTED the NCAA. Secondly, the Utes on here are obviously don't know about this great BYU team. The NIT had a higher percentage of ranked teams than the NCAA tournament. The NCAA scheduled itself AFTER the NIT to avoid competing directly with it. There was no post-season poll in 1951. So the rankings don't mean a thing. BYU played in both tournaments---they played in the NCAA AFTER they played in the NIT. So, if Uconn lost in a SECOND post-season tournament last year, AFTER they won the NCAA, would they not be legit? Speaking of Uconn, going off of rankings alone, the Ute fans here would not count Uconn as the 2011 National Champions, because they didn't finish Number 1 in the regular season polls. You have to look at the media of the day. And in 1951, BYU was called "National Champion." So much for the Ute revisionist history.

  • cougarinboston Spokane, WA
    Dec. 15, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    @Uncle Rico. The NIT WAS as prestigious as the NCAA tournament in 1951. You are looking at one set of rankings, and saying that this refutes that fact. What would you say if you knew that 4 NIT teams REJECTED NCAA invites? How about the fact that the NIT had a higher number of ranked participants than the NCAA? Or that the NCAA tournament scheduled AFTER the NIT, because it knew that it could not compete directly with it. By your accounting, UCONN wouldn't be legitimate either. We should have just crowned Ohio State as National Champs. Because, you did know that there was no post-season poll in 1951, right? No, I didn't think so. You just have an agenda, to go along with your lack of information.

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    Dec. 14, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    Let's also not forget Utah won the NIT in 1947 (3 years after winning their NCAA National Championship in 1944).

    Record books also show Utah won their first National Championship in basketball in 1916 by winning the National AAU Tournament. (Which was the premier basketball tournament back then).

  • PAC man Anaheim, CA
    Dec. 14, 2011 10:11 p.m.

    It's hilarious how the haters come out of the woodwork to nitpick BYU's basketball history, yet they completely ignore the bogus claims about Utah's history.

    In 1944,

    Utah LOST as many pickup games

    Fort Warren 59-61
    Salt Lake Air Base 39-54
    Dow Chemical 36-46

    as Utah won real games

    Idaho State 54-43
    Colorado College 48-34
    Idaho State 52-40

    Utah lost in the opening round of the NIT
    to Kentucky 38-46 (of course)

    yet, Utah fans still claim that Utah won a national title by winning the 2nd rate tournament of the day, the NCAA

    even though the Helms Athletic Foundation, the only national organization that selected national basketball champions from 1901 up until 1949

    selected Army as the national champion for 1944.

  • snowman801 Orem, UT
    Dec. 14, 2011 9:11 p.m.

    Kentucky (the AP #1 ranked team and NCAA tournament champion didn't even play in the NIT).

    BYU had 2 losses in the NCAA tournament that year (yes they did play in both tournaments).

    0 teams in the top 7 of the final AP top 20 played in the NIT.
    How is it more prestigious?

  • Louisiana Cougar Pineville, LA
    Dec. 14, 2011 9:01 p.m.

    Joe Richey from that team contracted leukemia in 1992 but nonetheless served a mission with his wife in England where he passed away in 1995. I played Church ball with Joe on a senior team in Fresno, California. Though he was in his late forties with six children, he was still a terrific player and a deft passer and shooter.

    More importantly, Joe Richey was a good and humble man who I respected tremendously. He and his wife, Sharon, were pillars in the LDS Church in Fresno, and each of their sons earned the Eagle Scout award and served LDS missions. I coached the boys in Volleyball many years ago.

    I remember looking at the All-American plaque that was inobtrusively hung on the wall of their dining room, indicating Joe as a member of that distinguished group. Thanks for the memories!

  • Uncle Rico Provo, UT
    Dec. 14, 2011 8:58 p.m.

    "the NIT back in the early '50s was considered more prestigious than the NCAA Tournament"

    Not true Mr. Harmon. Look at the final AP poll from 1951.
    Here is the final AP poll from 1951:


    Final RankingPost-season Tournaments
    1KentuckyNCAA
    2Oklahoma State
    3ColumbiaNCAA
    4Kansas StateNCAA
    5IllinoisNCAA
    6Bradley
    7Indiana
    8NC StateNIT and NCAA
    9St. John'sNIT and NCAA
    10Saint LouisNIT
    11Brigham YoungNIT and NCAA
    12ArizonaNIT and NCAA
    13DaytonNIT
    14Toledo
    15WashingtonNCAA
    16Murray State
    17CincinnatiNIT
    18Siena
    19USC
    20VillanovaNCAA

    BYU lost to Kansas State and Washington in the NCAA tournament.
    Don't try to sell that the NIT was better, it did not have a top 7 ranked team playing in it.