Kansas State honored one of its greatest men’s basketball teams Saturday, as 14 members of the 1964 Big Eight champion and Final Four team celebrated the 50th anniversary of its accomplishment at its annual Legends Weekend at Bramlage Coliseum.
In all, K-State welcomed back 14 members of the 1964 team: Dick Barnard, Larry Berger, Bill Gettler, Joe Gottfrid, Tom Haas, Jim Hoffmann, Max Moss, John Olson, Lou Poma, Sammy Robinson, Jeff Simons, Roger Suttner, Larry Weigel and former coach Tex Winter were all there.
Willie Murrell, the Wildcats’ leading scorer and all-conference forward, did not attend because of health reasons.
Just in case Gottfrid forgot how meaningful those 1964 accomplishments were, he received an emphatic reminder Saturday. The Wildcats honored the team at halftime of a 78-56 victory over West Virginia, and the former players were cheered as loudly as the current team.
“It’s special,” Gottfrid said. “We played a long time ago and after 50 years ... it is special to come and be honored for it. There was quite a bit of hoopla over it today — a lot more than we got back when we were playing.”
Suttner, a 7-footer who averaged 12.9 points that season, was equally impressed.
“It was a great reunion,” Suttner said. “The noise on the court was unbelievable.”
When asked for their best memories from the 1964 season, they all had the same answers: surviving four overtime games, winning a conference title and beating Wichita in the NCAA Tournament. Facing UCLA in the Final Four was fun, too.
The former players and coaches met on campus earlier in the weekend. K-State coach Bruce Weber made sure they met with the Wildcats’ current players.
“It was an honor to have those guys here,” Weber said. “A lot of them came to practice. They were so fired up. One of them lives in San Diego, somebody lives in New Jersey, but they all watch the game. They know our players, and they know what we are doing. ... It’s special, the great tradition here. It gives us something to shoot for.”