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Nevil Shed: Road to Glory

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | 7 pm

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Nevil Shed will join us to discuss his journey including experience as starting center for the 1966 Texas Western National Championship Team. The team made history by defeating Kentucky to win the national championship during the height of the civil rights era becoming the first team to win with an all black starting lineup. The cultural impact was significant with the win helping promote the desegragation of athletics in southern colleges. The team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and inspired the book and film, 'Glory Road'. The team was recently inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

This event will be virtual and the link will be made available in RowdyLink.

Meet the Speaker

Nevil Shed

Nevil-Shed.jpg “Basketball is life” is a phrase, but when Nevil Shed was playing basketball; his life was threatened just for daring to be great in basketball. Taunted, called every racial slur, threatened for just daring to show up, winning was not important, it was the only option. With the odds stacked against Nevil and his small and unfavorable team, they created a new road, blazed in glory, changing the world the way they knew how- with the game.

Because of star forward Nevil “The Shadow” Shed and the Texas Western Miners, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament term “March Madness” took on new meaning in 1966. For the first time in NCAA history, the champions of this coveted game had a starting line- up consisting of all African- Americans. It seems the basketball court became the chosen arena to demand civil rights for black people in America, with Nevil Shed and the Miners were its Freedom Fighters. Overcoming the historically all white Kentucky Wildcats team, the 1965-66 squad from Texas singlehandedly changed the face of college sports and had their own win against the Jim Crow system. For Nevil, this win was monumental because “we opened a door for qualified minors to attend any school of their choice.” It was important to show that minors have the qualifications to attend any institution of learning and excel in athletics and academics. This road of glory, however, did not start that fateful season. Nevil was born and raised in Bronx, New York, and graduated from the picturesque Morris High School where other distinguished alumni like Colin Powell also attended. This was the centerpiece of reform in the New York Public education system, so Nevil had not yet seen the true hatred of the Jim Crow system. After spending one semester at a southern African- American university (NCA&TSU) Nevil was ready to call it quits and head back to New York. Disillusioned by bias and bigotry, and black teachers who seemed unreasonably tough, Nevil had had enough of the racist South. The legendary Coach Don Haskins came to Nevil’s mother, presenting an offer to transfer to Texas Western (now University of Texas at El Paso/ UTEP) with the promise of returning her son with a college degree. Nevil had no idea that going even further into the South, the land he wanted to escape, would thrust him into the spotlight forever.

In the Bronx neighborhood where Nevil first saw poverty and crime, he described himself “a positive person in a negative environment.” He made a vow then, “when you get the chance, don’t you dare not take advantage of it.” After completing his college degree, Nevil would go on to be drafted to the NBA, coach for the legendary Don Haskins, become inductee of the Naismith Hall of Fame, marry and father seven children, became the topic of several documentaries, books, recipient of numerous awards, and portrayed in the Disney film “Glory Road”. When Mr. Shed is not working with the children of the San Antonio School System, or acting as Director for the youth basketball camp for the San Antonio Spurs, he makes time to travel as a motivational speaker and shares with his audiences the message: “What people did for us yesterday, has a story for the youth, today. I'm hoping Glory Road will be a teaching tool to let them know how it was then, so those facing any challenges will be able to recall how far we have come as a country and with that determination, anything can be achieved.”