EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Thousands of people filled the Don Haskins Center on Thursday night to remember the basketball coach in a memorial service that took on the atmosphere of a college game.
The arena's television screens showed a 1997 roast of Haskins, known to the basketball world as ``The Bear'' and to fans and players as simply ``Coach,'' while a spotlight shone on the 1966 NCAA national championship banner.
The scoreboard was lit up with the final score of that game - Texas Western College, 72, Kentucky 65 - as it was during a public viewing for Haskins on Tuesday.
Haskins died Sunday. He was 78.
The Texas-El Paso marching band was on hand and former referee Irv Brown even stood guard with a whistle to cut off speakers who went over their allotted time in a service that was expected to last three hours.
h at Arkansas, described Haskins as a ``mentor and a good friend'' before Thursday's service.
``You are talking about a crown jewel,'' Richardson said.
Richardson said while Haskins never acknowledged knowing what it meant for him to start to five black players in the 1966 championship game against an all-white Kentucky squad, he believes Haskins always knew what he was doing.
``He was a simple man with values,'' Richardson said. ``Had he known the values he had maybe he wouldn't have been so good.''
Nevil Shed, one of Haskins' starters in 1966 and a one-time assistant to Haskins, said the coach was a life-long inspiration to him. And Haskins recently told him something he always assumed, but never knew for sure.
``He told me he loved me, something I might not have believed when I played for him,'' Shed said with a soft smile.
Countless friends and former players, including Tim Hardaway and Antonio Davis, filled the arena's floor Thursday.
Those who knew Haskins best said this week that he would have hated the spectacle of thousands of people paying tribute to him. But family friend Jim Paul said this was the one time they didn't give Haskins a vote.

NCAAB Top Stories

Thumbnail Penn State vs. Texas A&M Pick Is No. 16 Texas A&M in danger of being upset today at 6PM ET when the Aggies take on Penn State in the...
Thumbnail Marquette vs. Wichita State Pick Will No. 6 Wichita State pick up another big win when it takes on ...
Thumbnail North Carolina vs. Stanford Pick Will No. 9 North Carolina be able to handle their business when they go on the road to face Stanford tonight at 11:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Baylor vs. Wisconsin Pick One of the most intriguing games in college basketball tonight has No. 25 Baylor facing Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Classic at 9:30PM...
Thumbnail Hampton vs. Xavier Pick Is No. 15 Xavier going to be able to cover a big spread when it takes on Hampton...

NCAAB Headlines

NCAAB Team Pages