Inductees Bradley University's 1963-64 basketball team, who went 20-6 in the regular season, continued on to give Coach Chuck Orsborn and assistant Joe Stowell their third National Invitational Tournament Championship in eight seasons. Orsborn had won Bradley's first NIT title in 1957 and repeated in 1960.
The 1963 team was lead by Levern Tart, Joe Strawder, Manual High School's Eddie Jackson, Ernie Thompson and Rich Williams. During the regular season, Bradley was unable to hold off Wichita and Drake Co-Missouri Valley Champions, but once the season was over B.U. went on to sweep through to the NIT Championship.
The most difficult tournament game came in the first round in an 83-81 win over St. Joseph of Philadelphia. Bradley's next opponent, ARMY, Coached by Bobby Knight, was cuffed by a score of 67-52. In the title game, the Braves faced New Mexico and its vaunted center, Ira "Large" Harge, and produced a somewhat surprising and overwhelming 86-54 victory.
Tart, who later went on to professional basketball, averaged 17.5 points and the 6'9' Strawder 16.9. Eddie Jackson scored 385 points in his first varsity season. Three other local players were on the team - Bobby West of Peoria Central, Steve Day of Richwoods, and Ron Patterson of Farmington - along with Tom Gordon, Leon Hall, Ron Martin, Jack Hutchinson, Rich Donley, Lee Frederick, and Tom Lund. Steve Hudgens was
Bradley University's 1963-64 basketball team, who went 20-6 in the regular season, continued on to give Coach Chuck Orsborn and assistant Joe Stowell their third National Invitational Tournament Championship in eight seasons. Orsborn had won Bradley's first NIT title in 1957 and repeated in 1960.
A 1956 graduate of Peoria High School, Ralph Lawler has continued the area's tradition of supplying some of the nation's top sports broadcasters. Already an established broadcaster among the nation's major sports leagues, Lawler became the voice of the NBA's San Diego Clippers in 1978 and has now announced more than 2,000 Clippers game in more than 30 years. Lawler began his broadcasting career at Pekin's WSIV radio station while he was a student at Bradley University. The 1976 Pennsylvania Broadcaster of the Year, Lawler enjoyed stints as the radio voice for the Philadelphia Phillies (Major League Baseball), Flyers (National Hockey League) and 76ers (National Basketball Association). Upon moving to the West Coast, he served as the voice of the National Football League's San Diego Chargers before locking in as the long-time Voice of the Clippers.