Seated right in front of the observer at the University of Louisville-St. John’s women’s basketball game Tuesday was none other than Phil Rollins, the captain of the 1955-56 team that won the National Invitation Tournament championship.

UofL defeated Dayton in the title game which, at the time, was considered college basketball’s national championship. Among his other teammates on a team with a 26-3 record were Bill Darragh, Roscoe Shackelford, Jim Morgan and All-America Charlie Tyra.

Believe it or not, the observer was able to recite all of Rollins’ teammates names to him. That was, in fact, the first season we strictly followed UofL to the exclusion of all others. That team started off winning its first eight games before losing to Ed Diddle and Western Kentucky at Bowling Green. When Rollins was told that a kid cried after that loss, he joked that the kid wasn’t the only one crying.

Rollins is the sole surviving senior player from that team. The others were Jerry Moreman, Herb Harrah and Dick Keffer. Phil was president of the U of L Alumni Association in 1980, the year his school won its first NCAA championship.

Good to see you again, Phil. Well done and thanks for the memories.

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.