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Greyhounds Celebrate 50th Anniversary of 1966 Championship

1/4/16
It may not seem like fifty years have passed since Lowell "Cotton" Fitzsimmons led the 1965-66 Moberly Junior College Greyhounds on their run to the NJCAA National Championship. Players like Harrison Stepter, Tom Thoenen, Bernard Copeland, Bill Mozee, and Larry Peirick, just to name a few, took Moberly to a 29-5 season and came home from Hutchinson, KS with the first place trophy.

On January 15-16, 2016, Moberly Area Community College will honor and recognize their efforts, along with the other three NJCAA National Championship teams from 1953-54, 1954-55, and 1966-67.

"This will be a great weekend of memories. Members of the coaches' families and radio broadcasters are returning to help pay homage to that famous era in our Greyhound's history," said Susan Arment, MACC Alumni Director. "We welcome any team member who played under the guidance of Maurice John or Cotton Fitzsimmons, along with fans and families, to join in the celebration."

Returning players will have a reunion and tour events on Friday, January 15. The Greyhound Booster Club will host a public reception Saturday, January 16, at 4PM in the Activity Center for a "Meet and Greet" with the former players. The Lady Greyhounds' will take on rival Mineral Area Community College at 5PM, with the nationally-ranked Greyhound Men taking the court at 7PM. Video highlights from the 50's and 60's seasons will be shown before the men's game and the festivities will continue with a half-time ceremony. Free commemorative programs will be available featuring background and stats on the coaches, each team they led and the players.

The Greyhounds current home court is named in honor of the two coaches. The Fitzsimmons-John Arena, with a 2,650 seat capacity, was constructed in 1998. The Greyhound program has garnered four national championships, 26 Region XVI titles, and 45 NJCAA All-Americans for the men, and one national championship, 13 Region XVI championships and 21 NJCAA All-Americans for the women's program.

With almost identical winning averages of 79% and 78%, Fitzsimmons and John both won two back-to-back National Championships and went on to coach for many years after leaving Moberly.
After coaching in Moberly from 1946 to 1958, Maury John coached at Drake University until 1971 and at Iowa State until 1974. He won Missouri Valley Coach of the Year four times and the U.S. Basketball Writers Coach of the Year in 1969.

Lowell "Cotton" Fitzsimmons followed John, leading the Greyhounds from 1958 to 1967. After a successful stop at Kansas State, Cotton moved to NBA basketball. From 1970 to 1997, Fitzsimmons was head coach or in management for the San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Buffalo Braves, Kansas City Kings, and the Phoenix Suns. He retired with 832 NBA victories. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1979, while with the Kings.

For more information on the Greyhound Anniversary celebration, visit the Greyhound Anniversary page or contact Susan Arment, Director of Institutional Development & Alumni Services, at 660-263-4100 ext. 11550 or .

 

 

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