Kansas' 1966 Team Celebrates 45th Anniversary This Weekend

Dec. 1, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 1966 Kansas men’s basketball team will celebrate its 45th anniversary this weekend and will be recognized during the KU-South Florida contest Saturday. The majority of the team and staff plan to attend the weekend festivities.

In head coach Ted Owens’ second season, the 1965-66 Jayhawks posted an impressive 23-4 record and won the Big Eight Conference regular-season title going 13-1. The Jayhawks won the Big Eight Holiday Tournament in Kansas City and would later advance to the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional finals falling to Texas Western, now UTEP, in an 81-80 double-overtime thriller. KU would end the year ranked No. 4 in the national polls.

“A lot of these players haven’t been back in a long time,” Owens said. “We plan to meet up and go to (KU’s) practice Friday and see the new facilities. This is going to be a great weekend.”

Two members of the 1966 team, Walt Wesley and Jo Jo White, have had their KU jerseys retired. Wesley led the 1966 team in scoring with 20.7 points per game and rebounding with an 8.8 average. White scored 11.3 points per outing as a freshman on the 1966 squad. Al Lopes contributed 12.4 points per game for the Jayhawks and Delvy Lewis chipped in 10.9 per outing. Ron Franz was also a starter on the team who scored 9.6 points per contest.

“We had some great, great players on that team and went about eight deep,” Owens said. “Jo Jo (White) didn’t play until the second semester. Of course you had Walt (Wesley) and Al Lopes and Delvy (Lewis). Ron Franz was also a solid player as were Roger Bohnenstiehl, Bob Wilson and Riney Lochman, who was a co-captain with Delvy.”

“Once we picked up Jo Jo at midterm, we went undefeated until we lost to Texas Western,” Owens said of White who played the final nine games of the season. “That was one of the most powerful teams Kansas has ever had. I think the closest game after picking up Jo Jo (Feb. 12) was 13 points at Kansas State.”

“One of the greatest wins we had was in the Fieldhouse against nationally-ranked Nebraska,” Owens recalled from when the fourth-ranked Jayhawks hosted the sixth-ranked Cornhuskers on Feb. 26, 1966. “We won 110-73. We really had a special team.”

Following KU’s practice on Friday, the 1966 Jayhawks will meet for dinner. On Saturday the group will gather before and after the Kansas men’s game against South Florida which tips at 4:15 p.m. (Central) and can be seen on ESPN2 and heard on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access via www.kuathletics.com.