PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Big 5 has announced that, for the first time in history, it will induct five men’s basketball teams -- one from each school -- into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. The induction will take place as part of the Big 5’s annual banquet on April 11, 2016 in the Palestra.
The University of Pennsylvania will be represented by the 1970-71 team. That Quakers unit went a perfect 26-0 through the regular season, rolling to both the Ivy League and Big 5 championships. Penn then defeated Duquesne and South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament before falling in the East Regional final to city rival Villanova. Penn ranked as high as No. 3 in the country that season.
Six members of that team are already in the Big 5 Hall of Fame as individuals: Head Coach Dick Harter (inducted in 1993), Dave Wohl (1975), Corky Calhoun (1976), Bob Morse (1977), Phil Hankinson (1980), and current Big 5 Executive Director Steve Bilsky (1988).
The other teams to be inducted are:
1968-69 LA SALLE: Record 23-1, highest national rank #2, Coach Tom Gola. The Explorers were ineligible to compete in the NCAA Championship Tournament.
2003-04 SAINT JOSEPH’S: Record 30-2, highest national rank #1, Coach Phil Martelli. The Hawks were undefeated in the regular season and lost to Oklahoma State in the NCAA Elite 8.
1987-88 TEMPLE: Record 32-2, highest national rank #1, Coach John Chaney. The Owls were defeated by Duke in the NCAA Elite 8.
1984-85 VILLANOVA: Record 25-10, Coach Rollie Massimino. The Wildcats defeated Georgetown to win the NCAA National Championship.
“These five teams were magnificent squads who brought great joy and pride to the City of Philadelphia,” said Bilsky. “Over the last few years, we had tossed around the idea of selecting a year to honor teams rather than individuals, and decided that the 60th anniversary would be an appropriate time. In addition to all the wonderful players who participated on these great teams, you can’t help but be reminded why The Big 5 is often referred to as the cradle of college basketball coaches.”
Bilsky noted that the Directors of Athletics would determine a proper milestone year to induct women’s basketball teams into The Big 5 Hall of Fame.
Information on the annual Big 5 banquet will be available on the Big 5 website (www.philadephiabig5.org) as well as the websites of the individual schools.