GCU-1974-75-NAIA-basketball-champions
GCU-1974-75-NAIA-basketball-champions

GREATEST MOMENTS | First national title in 1975 put Grand Canyon on the map


There are a lot of great moments in Grand Canyon University's sports history, including NAIA nationalchampionships in baseball (four) and basketball (three) along with an NCAA Division II men's soccer title.

Tim Salmon, the American League's 1992 Rookie of the Year who played 14 seasons in the major leagues, set GCU career records with 51 home runs, 225 runs and 192 RBIs from 1987-89.

The 1958-59 men's basketball team went 20-0, still the only unbeaten team in GCU history.The Antelopes averaged 82.4 points per game and outscored opponents by nearly 19 points per game.

In 1978, GCU won an NAIA quarterfinal basketball game againstCentral State (Ohio) in five overtimes, a tournament record that still stands. The Antelopes went onto win the national championship, beating Kearney State (Neb.), 79-75.

In1988, Rodney Johns hit a 19-foot jumper with 3.0 seconds remaining to cap a career-high 41 points and give 11th-seeded GCU an 88-86 overtime victory againstAuburn Montgomery (Ala.) in the national championship.

But there's only one first, and for GCU that came in 1975. The 'Lopes capped a 30-3 season with a 65-54 victory against Midwestern State in the NAIA Division I championship game.

It was GCU's first national championship and the sports moment judged the greatest in school history. It also helped put GCU on the map.

“We won that championship, and everything changed,” David Everett said in 2012.

Led by Everett and first-team All-American Bayard Forest, the 'Lopes closed the season with 12 consecutive wins.They beat Willamette (Ore.) 83-60, Illinois Wesleyan 66-63, Wisconsin-Parkside 70-54 and Alcorn State 88-68 to reach the NAIA championship game.

Both players were drafted by NBA teams. Forrest was the backup toAlvan Adams with the Phoenix Suns in 1978 and 1979 including the 1979 Western Conference Finals, when the Suns lost to the Seattle SuperSonics in seven games.

Today, GCU is the onlyfor-profit institutionin NCAA Division I and competes in the WAC.DanMajerle, former star with the Phoenix Suns, coaches the men's basketball team. They finished 27-7 this season and reached the CIT quarterfinals.

Havingcompleted the three-year transition process from Division II to Division I, GCU will be eligible for the NCAA Tournament next year.

“We’ve got to let people know about this school,” said Everett, who returned to GCU in 2012 as a doctoral candidate. “We need to let it be known that this is a good place for higher learning. I’m proud of my school.”
GCU Hall of Fame



On the cover: Grand Canyon's 1974-75 NAIA Division I basketball champions.(Courtesy GCU Athletics)
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
Monday:
Coastal Carolina (update)and Florida International
Tuesday:
Fordham andFurman
Wednesday:
Gardner-Webb andGeorge Mason
Thursday:
George Washington andGrand Canyon
Friday:
Green Bay andHarvard

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