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Welcome to Hardwood History!

Welcome! I’ve been a die-hard college basketball fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, and have been a University of Dayton fan for as long as I can remember. I come from a long line of basketball players and fans; I played ball in high school, coached high school ball while in college, and had season tickets to two college teams.  When I left home, I went to Duke University, and my time there corresponds almost exactly to the career of Mike Krzyzewski (he was began coaching there my sophomore year), with whom, by the way, I share a birthday. My loyalties are split, therefore, between UD and Duke, though I confess to following Coach K’s career with more fervor.  I also teach American history at a community college in New Jersey, so for the past 18 years I’ve followed the ups and downs of the Monmouth University program, including several NCAA Tournament appearances, a victory in the 2006 play-in game, and three straight seasons of failing to qualify for the Northeast Conference tournament.

But enough of my bona fides. This blog is my attempt to discuss the intersection of my two passions: college basketball and history. In it I’ll take a look at players from the last fifty years or so, with a focus on the “forgotten stars” of the past. I’ve no interest in writing about the Magic Johnsons, Michael Jordans, or Lew Alcindors, simply because their stories are so well known and have been told by those whose access and writing skills far surpass my own. Instead I’ll examine players whose greatness you might not know about and who probably didn’t have wildly successful pro careers. Theirs are the kinds of stories that attracted me to the field of history in the first place. You might not like the choices of subjects, but hopefully you’ll learn something interesting or useful about this great game’s past.

I also plan to write about some of the memorable seasons in the history of the NCAA.  There are a million stories out there, and not just from the NCAA Tournament. I disagree vehemently with the view of many that in college basketball, “the regular season is meaningless.”  This attitude serves to reinforce the silly notion that championships are the be-all and end-all of sports (indeed, of life), and it rejects out of hand the pleasure that the game has brought, and continues to bring, to millions of fans like me–and you, I hope. So my season reviews will discuss the Tournament, but I hope to concentrate mostly on the regular season, bringing to light those stories, players, and coaches that have made this the great sport that it is.

Finally, I plan on throwing out quick posts on almost anything college hoops related–past, present, and future–that strikes my fancy. Why? ‘Cause it’s my blog, that’s why!

In any case, I hope you find this blog fun and entertaining. All I know for sure is that I’ll have a blast writing it, and I can only pray that it doesn’t suck up as much time as I fear it might.

So — on with the show!!

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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized