40 years ago, Don Haskins went on the recruiting trail to find the best talent in the land, black or white. 7 blacks and 5 whites made up the legendary 1965-66 Texas Western Miners. They were mocked and ridiculed for their showboating and flaunting of black players on the court. Yet, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, Haskins and his Miners came together as a team united to reach the National Championship game against powerhouse Kentucky. Written by
Coach Don Haskins says, when offered the job at TWC, that he's glad to have a job offer in "Division 1". The NCAA didn't have divisions until 1971. In 1965, schools were divided into a "University Division" and a "College Division". See more »
During the credits, an inset shows several of the actual people involved (Don Haskins, David Lattin, Pat Riley, Orsten Artis, Willie Worsley, Harry Flournoy, and Nevil Shed) commenting about the championship game and its implications. Video of that game is also shown. See more »
"Glory Road" tells the true story of Don Haskins, the basketball coach for Western Texas College, who in the mid 1960's, broke the color barrier in the NCAA by being the first to feature a majority of black players on his team. The movie chronicles the obstacles he and his players faced, as well as their ultimate triumph when the team won the national championship in 1966.
"Glory Road" worships at the altar of just about every underdog-sports-movie cliché one can imagine, yet the viewer can't help getting caught up in its story anyway. The scenes in the first half of the movie definitely have a familiar ring to them, as we see the coach first alienating his players with his hardnosed tactics, then winning them over by building comradeship and showing them how much they can accomplish when they work together as a team rather than as individuals. However, as with "Remember the Titans," "Glory Road" is more interested in examining the social background of its time period than in merely telling yet another sports-oriented David and Goliath tale. The second half of the film concentrates more on the overt racism the team members face and the surprising courage they and their coach demonstrate in confronting it (could this really be set a mere 40 years ago?). The young actors are uniformly excellent, but it is Josh Lucas as Coach Haskins who delivers the powerhouse performance here. And director James Gartner manages to keep the film moving at a fast clip, never allowing it to get bogged down in message-mongering or overt preachiness.
Almost in spite of itself, "Glory Road" turns into a genuinely inspiring story about courage and determination in the face of societal pressure and incalculable odds. And that's pretty much what sports stories, familiar though they might be, are really all about.
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