The Perfect Season: A Memoir of the 1964-1965 Evansville College Purple Aces

By Russell Grieger | Go to book overview

1
THE ARMORY DAYS

I FELT THE TENSION THE moment I awoke. I felt it first in my chest—a dull, burning sensation that intensified with each breath, a sensation that radiated down to my stomach and then lower, all around and through my pelvis. Most painful was the sense of dread that filled my consciousness and drove my heart to beat extra hard so that I thought I could almost hear it. This fear had no focus or location; it was just a vague awareness of being in danger and under assault.

It took me but a second to connect this agony to what would take place at three o’clock that afternoon. At that hour, on this Tuesday, September 8, 1964, my Aces teammates and I would gather at the National Guard Armory to scrimmage against each other, as we would for the next five weeks until formal practices began at Carson Center. To me, these scrimmages were more than about honing my skills. My worst fear—acquired early in high school—involved failing at basketball and, as a consequence, slipping into the shameful ignominy of becoming a failure. Today the reality of my place in the team’s pecking order would start to be decided—starter or sub, success or failure.

-3-

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The Perfect Season: A Memoir of the 1964-1965 Evansville College Purple Aces
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Author’s Note xi
  • Prologue xiii
  • Part One - The Aces Get Ready 1
  • 1 - The Armory Days 3
  • 2 - Carson Center Preparation 9
  • 3 - The Iowa Hawkeyes 20
  • Part Two - The Ace Grows Up 29
  • 4 - The Beginnings 31
  • 5 - From Bullpup to Bulldog 41
  • 6 - Flailing and Falling 53
  • 7 - Flying 63
  • 8 - St. Louis Blues 74
  • 9 - Return to Evansville 87
  • 10 - A Dream Comes True—Almost 96
  • Part Three - The Aces Succeed 119
  • 11 - Northwestern 121
  • 12 - Notre Dame 129
  • 13 - A Holiday Feast 138
  • 14 - The Black Hills and the Badlands 148
  • 15 - Larry, Then the Holy Grail 157
  • 16 - Fans into Redshirts 165
  • 17 - Southern Illinois Surprise 175
  • 18 - Depauw and More 184
  • 19 - Five Games, Five Snapshots 194
  • 20 - Southern Illinois Redux 208
  • Part Four - The Aces Triumph 217
  • 21 - The NCAA Regional 219
  • 22 - The NCAA Finals 231
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