Monday, December 26, 2016

WSSU will honor NCAA title team from 50 years ago

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Earl “The Pearl” Monroe says he’ll never forget the best championship he ever won.

“There’s no doubt that title we won at Winston was my highlight,” said Monroe, the leader of Winston-Salem State’s march to the Division II national championship in the 1966-67 season. “You know why it was so special? It was special because of the guys with me and the guy coaching us (the late Clarence ‘Big House’ Gaines).”

Monroe, now 72, won an NBA championship with the New York Knicks in 1973. But his best memories in the game of basketball came his senior season when the Rams went 31-1 on their way to the school’s lone national championship.

That it’s been 50 years is something that Monroe says he knows all too well.

“My knees tell me it’s definitely been 50 years,” he said by telephone recently from his home in New York.

Those aching knees and Monroe are expected to be on hand in February in Winston-Salem when an athletic fundraiser will be held to highlight the anniversary of that special season. Monroe and the late Cleo Hill, two of the most dynamic players in school history, will also have their numbers retired again.


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