first Black College Basketball Districts
After a long and arduous uphill battle, The National Intercollegiate Athletic Association plotted a road map for the inclusion of Black College basketball teams into the annual national invitational tournament, which was the biggest college platform at the time. The first- District 6- clumped all of the teams together and the outright champion was decided after individual conference champions met to decide the one representative that would be the pole bearer in Kansas City, Missouri. As recorded Black College Steering Committee Executive Secretary Mack Greene (Central State, Ohio), Tennessee State became the first team to step on the floor in Kansas City. It soon became evident that this system did not allow some of the other Black college teams a fair opportunity, and other districts were formed in the regions where these schools resided. This opened the door for some of the best college basketball competition ever, and produced several national champions- two of whom became three-time repeat champions (Tennessee State- 1957, ’58, ’59) and Kentucky State (1970, ’71, ’72)
Tennessee State began a three year championship run in 1957 under famed head coach John B. McLendon, Jr. and MVP Dick Barnett
The Tigers of Tennessee State make history as they claimed their third consecutive NAIA title in 1959.
Grambling State captured the 1961 championship behind MVP Charles Hardnett and future NBA Hall of Fame center Willis Reed.
Kentucky State duplicated the Tigers 3-peat from 1970-71, led by the nation’s leading scorer Travis Grant and leading rebounder Elmore Smith.
|1960||(E) Savannah State |
(W) Grambling State
|1961||(A) Savannah State |
B) Grambling State
NAIA National Champions
|1962||(A) Savannah State |
(B) Prairie View
|1963||(A) Miles |
(B) Grambling State
|1964||(A) Miles |
(B) Grambling State
|1970||South Carolina State||0-1|
|1973||South Carolina State||1-1|
NAIA National Champs
|1972||Maryland Eastern Shore||0-1|
|1973||Maryland Eastern Shore||4-1|