SCU To Honor Successful Era of Bronco Hoops

Jan. 25, 2006

By Dick Degnon
SCU Sports Media Director, 1962-81

Holder of 48 current individual, team and season records, the 1967-70 Santa Clara University men's basketball teams will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game against the University of San Francisco at the Leavey Center.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking here or by calling 408/554-4660. The game will feature a live radio broadcast in the Bay Area on KNTS-AM (1220) and via the Internet on Broncos All-Access. It will also be televised live by Comcast SportsNet West.

Highlighting the three-year span was Santa Clara's 73-12 record and Associated Press ranking of number two in the country behind UCLA.

Santa Clara won 35-straight games from midway during the 1967-68 season through the end of the regular 1969-7-0 season and registered 21-straight victories in 1968-69.

From 1967-69, Santa Clara posted a 37-5 record, a West Coast Conference record.

The Jesuit university gained its No. 2 national ranking after coach Dick Garibaldi's Broncos won three-straight games early in the 1968 season at the Rainbow Classic, downing 8th-ranked West Virginia, Houston and Purdue.

The Broncos defeated 7th-ranked New Mexico, 86-73, in the first round of the 1967 NCAA playoffs in Albuquerque, N.M.

"We were a hard-nosed, unselfish team that played to win," said forward Carlos "Bud" Ogden, a No. 2 era scorer and 1968 UPI second-team All-America selection. He is now the head coach of the Gilroy High School boys' basketball team.

Both Bud and his brother, Ralph, were featured in an SCU story in the Feb. 10, 1969 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine and Bud was featured on the cover.

"After the Broncos drew the No. 2 national ranking in December, 1968, we had calls from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times as well as all three major television networks," recalled Dick Degnon, SCU's sports media director at the time.

On March 15, 1968, the No. 2-ranked Broncos snapped 7th-ranked New Mexico's 21-game unbeaten streak in its new arena. The victory set-up a showdown between SCU and defending NCAA champion UCLA in the first round of NCAA regional play.

UCLA and Santa Clara were nos. 1 and 2 in the Associated Press poll from late December into the playoffs.

Before tipoff against New Mexico, legendary Bruins coach John Wooden told Garibaldi, "We should not be meeting here tonight. We should be playing for the NCAA championship next month."

The Bruins, on their way to their third-straight NCAA title, downed Santa Clara 87-66 to capture the 1968 West Regional championship.

Both Dennis Awtrey and Ralph Ogden turned down full scholarship offers to attend UCLA in favor of Santa Clara.

As a result of the No. 1 and 2 teams meeting in the opening round, the NCAA revised its playoff selection format in 1969 by ranking teams into four divisions and top contenders would not be matched in an early round.

"These were three extremely competitive teams which reflected their head coach in Dick Garibaldi," said Carroll Williams, then a SCU assistant coach before serving as the Broncos' top man from 1970-92.

These teams produced three professional NBA players in Awtrey and both Ogdens. Awtrey played 12 seasons for Philadelphia, Phoenix and Portland. Bud Ogden played for Philadelphia and Ralph played for the San Francisco Warriors.

"We were overachievers," said Awtrey, a 6-10 center and two-time Academic All-America selection. "Everyone had their own role."

"Winning the Rainbow Classic in Hawai'i and our 27-2 record were the top highlights of the 1967-69 era," said Garibaldi.

Starting guard Terry O'Brien, currently living in San Jose, Calif., summed-up the reason for SCU's success: "Our team chemistry was outstanding. It was a very special experience."