Published: February 18, 2016
The University witnessed the return of some great Royals from the past this Saturday, as the 1976 men’s basketball team returned to the John J. Long Center during the Royals’ game against the visiting Goucher College.
The members of the 1976 team were honored at halftime, as The University celebrated the 40th anniversary of its first men’s basketball national championship.
The ’76 squad captured The University’s first national championship, defeating Wittenberg University 60-57 in the championship game. The team finished the season with a combined record of 27-5, including a 19-0 surge to end the season. The Royals would not win another title until 1983.
The historic team is made up of Ed Buley, Billy Canny, Joe Conley, John DeRichie, Ed Ehret, Andy Holup, Jeff Hubert, Irv Johnson, Phil Johnson, Jack Maher, Paul Miernicki and John Williams. The past squad had a handful of record-holding players, including Irv Johnson, Maher and Phil Johnson, who rank second, fourth and 17th in total points scored, respectively.
Irv Johnson also ranks fifth all-time for rebounds with 1,299. Maher and the Johnsons were not the only record holders who played on the ’76 team, as Miernicki is third all-time in school history for assists with 455.
The squad went under the nickname “The Rockin’ Royals,” which perfectly complemented their intro song, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones.
While time has moved forward, the legacy of the ’76 team still lives on at The University.
“We’re excited and honored to have the 1976 national championship team back to celebrate the anniversary,” Athletic Director David Martin said, prior to Saturday. “They thrilled the University, the Scranton community and our fans everywhere with their run to the title, and we’re looking forward to honoring them again 40 years after that historic achievement.”
While there is still a lot of basketball left to be played for this year’s Royals team, there is no denying that the ultimate goal is to replicate the success of the 1976 team by bringing another national championship back to Scranton.
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