In 1963 Loyola University Chicago’s Head Basketball Coach was George Ireland, under whom Fenwick Head Coach Bill Shay had been an assistant. Shay had recruited three of the players on that Ramblers’ national championship team. He and then-Friars’ football coach Leonard “Lenny” Tyrrell, along with 13 others, made the trip to Louisville to see the title game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Traveling with Tyrrell for that inaugural trip was Hall-of-Fame Football Coach Pete Hester, a ’49 alumnus of Loyola Academy.
They had so much fun that Hester, Tyrrell and some of their cohorts – truck driver Mel Connolly, Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Lattner '50 and bar owner John Maguire among them — wanted to score tickets to go again the following year to Kansas City to see what would be legendary Coach John Wooden’s first of 10 national titles at UCLA, including an incredible run of seven in a row.
Wouldn’t it be fun to go to the NCAA Tournament every year, they thought?
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