Sunday, Aug 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

College

A look at the 1967-68 BGSU men's basketball team

  • SPT-BGmen21p-31

    Members of the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team are recognized on the 50th anniversary of their Mid-American Conference title.

    Blade/Amy E. Voigt

  • Piatkowski-1-jpg

    Walt Piatkowski is a Woodward High School graduate who led the Falcons in scoring in 1968. The 6-8 sharpshooter averaged 24.0 points per game, making 52.4 percent of his shots from the floor and 81.5 percent of his free throws. Piatkowski saved some of his biggest scoring outputs for the biggest games: He had 33 points against Virginia Tech, 32 at Iowa and 31 against Toledo.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Piatkowski-4-jpg

    Walt Piatkowski was a Converse All-American in 1968 and was drafted by the NBA's San Francisco Warriors in the eighth round of the draft. But he played for the ABA's Denver Rockets from 1968-70; he was named the ABA's all-rookie team after averaging 12.0 points per game his first season. He also played for The Floridians, a Miami-based ABA team, in 1971-72.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Hairston1-jpg

    Al Hairston was a 6-1 guard who finished second on the 1967-68 squad in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game. After his senior season he was drafted by the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics and the ABA's Kentucky Colonels; he averaged 2.2 points per game in two seasons with the 'Sonics.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Hairston3-jpg

    Al Hairston, a member of the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team, became an ultra-successful high school basketball coach when his playing days ended. He led Garfield High School in Seattle to five Washington state titles and two runner-up finishes.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Dixon1-jpg

    Al Dixon, a Scott High School graduate, averaged 11.8 points and a team-high 10.9 rebounds per game for the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. He later was drafted by the NBA's Baltimore Bullets and the ABA's Kentucky Colonels.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Dixon3-jpg

    Instead of playing in the NBA or ABA, Toledo native Al Dixon, a member of the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team, played for the Harlem Globetrotters. He later was a teacher in Toledo and Detroit before passing away in 2001.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Rudgers1-jpg

    Dick Rudgers was a 6-2 guard who averaged 10.5 points per game as a member of the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. Rudgers, who also averaged 4.0 rebounds per contest, was a 75-percent free-throw shooter.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Rudgers7-jpg-1

    Dick Rudgers was a junior on the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. After leading the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game the following year, he returned to his hometown of Akron, where he coached at North and Firestone high schools and later was principal at Akron Central-Hower.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Henderson1-jpg

    Yusuf Abdullah, who was called Joe Henderson when he played for the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team, averaged 6.4 points per game as the fifth starter. He was known for his defense, and the 6-5 guard also added 7.2 rebounds per game, third-best on the team.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Assenheimer-1-jpg

    Carl Assenheimer was a 6-4 forward who came off the bench for the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. He averaged 4.1 points per game, thanks in part to a 14-point effort in a two-point win at Kent State, and also had 1.3 rebounds per game.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Heft1-jpg

    John Heft was a 6-6 forward who was a member of the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. Heft played in 18 of the Falcons' 25 games and averaged 2.1 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. The next season he averaged 10.5 points per game for the Falcons.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Rodeheffer1-jpg

    Sid Rodeheffer is a Bowling Green native who saw action as a 6-3 reserve guard on the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. He averaged 1.3 points and 0.3 rebounds in 12 games for the Falcons.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • Rodeheffer7-jpg

    Sid Rodeheffer was a sophomore on the 1968 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. While he averaged 5.1 points and 1.2 rebounds as a senior at BG, he is best-known as a basketball official for both the Mid-American and Big Ten conferences.

    BGSU photo NOT BLADE PHOTO

  • s3bg68-jpg

    Bill Fitch, shown with center Al Dixon (left) and forward Walt Piatkowski, led the 1967-68 Bowling Green State University men's basketball to a Mid-American Conference title. While he left to become Minnesota coach, "I never had a year as a basketball coach that was more fun," he told The Blade in a phone interview.

    THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG
    Buy This Image

  • SPT-BG68-3

    While Bill Fitch led the BGSU men's basketball team to its most-recent NCAA Tournament berth in 1968, he is better known for a 25-year NBA career that included 944 wins -- tenth-most in history -- with Cleveland, Boston, Houston, New Jersey and the Los Angeles Clippers -- as well as a 1981 NBA title with the Celtics.

    THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG
    Buy This Image

  • BG-logo-men

    Bob Conibear was the assistant coach for the 1967-68 Bowling Green State University men's basketball team. When Fitch left, Conibear took over as head coach. In three seasons Conibear had a 31-42 record; his best season as head coach came in 1969-70, when he led the Falcons to a 15-9 overall record and a second-place finish in the MAC with a 7-3 mark.

  • lessig-jpg

    Jim Lessig was the freshman coach for the Bowling Green State University men's basketball team in 1967-68. The BG alumnus is better know as serving as AD at the school before taking over as Mid-American Conference commissioner.

BOWLING GREEN — The 1968 Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team claimed a Mid-American Conference title, posting an 18-7 overall record and a 10-2 mark in the MAC.

The Falcons claimed some impressive wins during the non-conference season, beginning with a victory at Saint Joseph’s early in the season followed by a neutral-court win over Niagara at Cleveland Arena.

Bowling Green also claimed a four-point win at Virginia and a six-point victory at Syracuse before thumping DePaul by 28 at Anderson Arena in the regular-season finale.

The Falcons advanced to the NCAA tournament, where they suffered a one-point loss to Marquette in a game hosted by Kent State.

RELATEDClick here to read about the Bowling Green men’s basketball team’s magical 1967-68 season.

To find out more about the players and coaches on this team, click on the photo at the top of the page. Then when you see the “<” and the “>” signs, click on them to scroll through the photos.

Toledo native Al Dixon died in 2001. Click here to read his Blade obituary.

Contact John Wagner at jwagner@theblade.com419-724-6481, or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

Click to comment

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet.

Copyright © 2018 Toledo Blade

To Top

Fetching stories…