UAPB Basketball is a historic program with a rich tradition. The program has produced some of the best players in the country, and has been a powerhouse in the SWAC for many years. Here is a brief history of the program.
UAPB Basketball: Origins
UAPB basketball began in the early 1900s, with the school’s first team formed in 1903. The team played its first game against a local High School losing 38-10. In the years that followed, UAPB basketball was mostly a local phenomenon, with the team playing against other high schools and colleges in the area. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the team began to gain national attention
In 1955, UAPB made its first appearance in the NCAA tournament losing to eventual National Champion San Francisco in the Opening Round Two years later, the team made it back to the tournament, this time defeating defending national champion Kentucky before losing to eventual champion Cincinnati in the regional semifinals.
In 1960, UAPB made history again, becoming the first all-black school to win an NCAA Tournament game when it defeated New Mexico State in the opening round. The team would go on to lose to Ohio State in the next round.
In 1962, UAPB made its final NCAA appearance to date, losing to Oregon State in the opening round. Since then, the team has mostly competed in regional tournaments and conferences such as the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
UAPB Basketball: Early Success
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is located in Pine Bluff Arkansas and is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The school’s Basketball Program has seen early success, winning the SWAC regular season title in 2010 and 2012. The team has also made two NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances, in 2010 and 2012.
UAPB Basketball: The 1950s and 60s
UAPB Basketball started in the 1950s as a men’s only program. The first coach was Virgil T. Blossom, who coached the team from 1958 to 1966. The 1960s were a successful decade for UAPB basketball. The team won the NAIA National Championship in 1962 and made it to the Elite Eight in 1963. UAPB was also one of the first teams to integrate, with five black players on the roster in 1967.
UAPB Basketball: The 1970s
UAPB basketball began its journey in the 1970s. The team made its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament in 1974. The tournament was won by UCLA, led by Bill Walton UAPB made it to the second round of the tournament before losing to Marquette.
The 1970s were a tough decade for UAPB basketball. The team had a losing record in every season except for 1974-75, when they finished with a 17-11 record.
UAPB Basketball: The 1980s
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was founded in 1873 and is located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The school’s basketball team has a long and storied history, dating back to its founding in the early 1900s. The team has made several appearances in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament including a run to the Round of 32 in 1980. The 1980s were a decade of success for the UAPB Basketball Program as the team won multiple conference championships and made several postseason appearances.
UAPB Basketball: The 1990s
The 1990s were a decade of firsts for the UAPB men’s Basketball Program The Golden Lions won their first ever SWAC title in 1995, and followed that up with their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1996. UAPB would go on to make the NCAA tournament 3 more times in the 1990s, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1998. The Golden Lions also won their first ever NIT game in 1999, defeating TCU 80-74.
UAPB Basketball: The 2000s
In the early 2000s, the UAPB men’s Basketball team enjoyed its most successful stretch in program history. The team won back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles in 2000 and 2001, becoming the first team in conference history to do so. The team also made consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament becoming the first SWAC team to do so.
The 2000-01 season was especially successful. Led by Head Coach Murphy Jensen, the team finished the regular season with a 26-4 record, setting a program record for wins in a season. The team went on to win the SWAC tournament, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament In the tournament, the team upset No. 3 seed Iowa State before losing to eventual national champion Duke in the Round of 32.
Following the 2001 season, Jensen left UAPB to take an assistant coaching position with the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. He was replaced by former Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Nolan Richardson. Richardson only coached one season at UAPB before leaving to take an assistant coaching position with the NBA’s Houston Rockets
In 2003, Lewis Jackson became Head Coach of UAPB. Jackson coached two seasons at UAPB, leading the team to a 19-9 record and an appearance in the 2004 SWAC tournament semifinals in his first season. Jackson left UAPB after the 2004 season to become an Assistant Coach at his alma mater, Clemson University
UAPB Basketball: The 2010s
UAPB basketball made great strides in the 2010s, emerging as one of the top programs in the nation.
In 2010, UAPB won its first ever SWAC Regular Season title, finishing with a 16-2 record. The team also made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, losing to Duke in the first round.
In 2012, UAPB made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year, but once again lost in the first round.
The 2018 season was arguably UAPB’s best ever. The team won a school-record 27 games and made it all the way to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet Sixteen before losing to eventual national champion Virginia.
The 2019 season was also successful, with UAPB winning 23 games and once again making it back to the NCAA Tournament The team lost in the first round to Wisconsin.
UAPB Basketball: The Future
In its comparatively short history, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff men’s basketball team has made its mark on the Southwestern athletic conference (SWAC). The Golden Lions have captured four regular season titles and three tournament championships, qualifying for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament nine times. This includes a stretch of five consecutive appearances from 2006-2010, a first in school history.
UAPB Basketball: Legacy
UAPB basketball traces its origins back to the late 19th century. The school’s first Basketball team was formed in 1897, and played its first game against another local team Since then, UAPB has been a staple of the basketball community, consistently fielded competitive teams, and produced some of the sport’s biggest legends.
Some of the most notable names in UAPB Basketball History include Wilt Chamberlain who is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, and Oscar Robertson who is widely regarded as one of the greatest point guards in history. Chamberlain and Robertson both played for UAPB in the early 1960s before going on to have stellar NBA careers
Today, UAPB remains a competitive force in basketball, fielding a team that regularly competes for conference championships and NCAA tournament berths. The program’s legacy is evident in its long list of alumni who have gone on to have successful careers in the NBA, including star players like Carmelo Anthony and David West