“Old-School” Basketball Team Relives 1970 Win

Oberlin basketball recruit Marty Dugan ’73 was a standout prep player but “only a fair high school student.” One of eight siblings raised in Cleveland, he never considered Oberlin until the College sought to bring “some common, ordinary Cleveland-area athletes to campus.” Simply playing on Oberlin’s basketball team was one thing. Winning was something else entirely.

March 3, 1970: A roller-coaster basketball season at Oberlin culminated in the final tournament held at Baldwin-Wallace. The final game pit the Yeomen, in their first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference basketball championship game, against the highly favored Wittenberg.

Dubbed the “Amazin’ Obies” by the usually skeptical Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Yeomen took flight that night. Senior Al Wellington was a man possessed, dropping in 20-foot jump shots with impunity. He scored 26 points by the game’s end, each the tip of a spear carried by others. Meaning, for instance, Randy Miller’s move when the ball began careening out of bounds. Miller sailed right after it. He stretched airborne just long enough to flip the ball inbound back to Wellington, who took it in for a layup.

“That’s how the game went; we were hitting on all cylinders,” recalls Earl Singleton ’71, a high-jumping forward from New York City. “It was almost mystical, the way it happened.”

Obie fans swarmed the court when the final buzzer rang on Oberlin’s 65-58 championship victory. Horns honking, an exuberant car caravan surrounded the team bus for the hour-long trip back to Oberlin, where they were greeted with a boisterous campus rally that Dugan said made it feel like “we’d won a World Series.”

A handful of players from that 1970 championship team, plus former Head Coach Julian Smith, ventured back to Oberlin in February for the second annual Alumni Basketball Weekend. In a battle billed as “The Old School versus the New School,” the reunited squad laced up their sneakers and took to the court for a pick-up game against other (and younger) former players. “I just wanted to soak it all in,” said Jed Margolis ’73. “I felt like [our conference win] was just yesterday, albeit my heart stopped a few times.” Despite the scrapes and bruises, “Old-School” players didn’t miss a step with their flashy perimeter passing and ball movement. The score? A 70-70 overtime tie.

At a reception sponsored by the Alumni Association, the chatter naturally turned to those celebrated moments 36 years ago. “That game provided a wonderful closeness between students and the community,” said Wellington.

“It was just a feeling of love,” added leading scorer Vic Guerrieri ’72. Others, like Diane Yu ’73, who witnessed the championship game in 1970, recalled the atmosphere as “magical and thrilling,” especially upon the team’s return to Oberlin that night.

The alumni basketball weekend was further sweetened by the Oberlin basketball team’s 73-68 victory over rival Kenyon College; from their courtside seats, the alumni expressed a strong sense of Oberlin pride. “The whole purpose of this weekend was to bring school spirit and camaraderie to past and present players,” said Coach Happy Dobbs.

“These guys are extended brothers,” added Julius Hill ’04. “You can call upon them anytime for help or advice.” ATS

ESPN reporter George Smith ’87

A trio of ESPN representatives—Vice President Milton Anderson ’90, investigative reporter George Smith ’87, and senior writer Chris Broussard ’90—say that coupling Oberlin’s academic intensity with internships and job experience is the best way to translate an Oberlin degree into a high-ranking career.

“When I was a student, I would rent cars so I could cover high school games for the Lorain newspaper,” said Smith. “After the games, I would head to the office, write the story, and return the car, which I paid for with the $30 I made every week as sports editor of The Review. I spent summers at the Oregonian, the Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal, and I’m thankful for the hands-on experience.”

These days, Smith may have just a moment’s notice before ironing a dress shirt and hopping a plane to go “live at 5” with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open. He and his ESPN colleagues held a lecture in February, sponsored by the Office of Career Services, about their journeys from student to professional. Smith, who was an All-American track and field athlete at Oberlin, shifted his early print career into television news reporting, finally landing an investigative reporting spot at ESPN. “You have to be smart, learn to adapt, think critically, and balance your time; these are all skills you will learn at Oberlin,” he said.

George Smith talks with Oberlin students about careers in journalism


Milton Anderson, ESPN’s vice president for human resources, has spent his career hiring the top professionals at companies such as Marriott International and Pepsi-Cola. “I get thousands of resumes every day, and trust me, your Oberlin degree carries weight,” he said.


The absence at the lecture of ESPN senior writer Chris Broussard, former captain of Oberlin’s baseball and basketball teams, was a nod to his own success; he was called to Houston at the last minute to interview Houston Rockets All-Star Yao Ming. “This is a wonderful profession with few drawbacks,” he wrote in a personal statement. “One of them is the sporadic nature of the job that causes you to miss special events such as this.”


ESPN vice president Milton Anderson ’90

Anderson and Smith stayed long after the lecture to offer career advice to students and alumni, among them aspiring journalists. “They gave generously of their time and consistently demonstrated that they were willing to assist and mentor fellow Obies,” said David Leahy ’06. “This type of support is what makes the Oberlin community so exceptional.” ATS





Diane C. Yu ’73, the candidate receiving the most number of votes in the fall 2005 Alumni Trustee election, will join the Board of Trustees for a full six-year term beginning this July. Since 2001, Diane has been chief of staff and deputy to the president of New York University, where she is the highest-ranking woman. At Oberlin, she co-founded the Asian American Alliance and was the first student to graduate with an interdisciplinary major in East Asian studies. Since graduation, she has served as vice president of her class and as class agent.

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