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Cheyney University men’s basketball team

Harrisburg – April 17, 2018 – State Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and the entire Pennsylvania Senate today honored the 40th anniversary of the Cheyney University men’s basketball team winning the 1977-1978 Division II Men’s National Championship at the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.

 

The Cheyney Wolves, led by Naismith Hall of Fame coach John Chaney, earned the championship by beating the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay 47-40 on March 18, 1978 at the Hammons Center in Springfield, Missouri. The team finished with a record of 27-2 en route to the school’s first and only national championship in men’s basketball ‑- though the school has made four men’s Final Fours.

“It gives me great honor on this day to ask this body to rise to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1977-78 national champion Cheyney University men’s basketball team in Division II,” Senator Hughes said, as he recognized the team on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate. He noted the “important accomplishment” of the basketball team at one of the nation’s oldest Historically Black College and Universities.

The championship team was composed of:

  • John Butts
  • Duane Coleman
  • Milt Colston
  • Andrew “Dip” Fields, who was the Tournament MVP
  • Kenny “Cisco” Hinson
  • Jeffrey “White Mouse” Hutcherson
  • Roger “Bird” Leysath
  • Gerald “Mo” Mills
  • Charles “Murph”” Murphy
  • Gilbert “The Colonel” Saunders
  • Arthur “Suga Bear” Stone and
  • John “Blue” Walker
  • Charles Songster, assistant coach
  • Joe Iezzi, athletic trainer

Colston, a senior guard and All-American, led the team averaging 15.1 points per game. Hutcherson scored 13.4 points in his senior campaign. Sophomore Charles Murphy scored 11.2 points per game, as did Fields, who averaged 10.9 rebounds per game in addition to his scoring efforts.

One of the players pointed to Cheyney’s dynasty in that era in winning the conference championship so frequently. On its way to winning the national championship, Cheyney won its sixth straight Pennsylvania Athletic Conference title, defeating Slippery Rock 66-59.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the national championship, the Senate of Pennsylvania unanimously adopted a resolution honoring the university and the team for its accomplishments.