NCAA Tournament History

Two by Four

Two sport stars are not as common as they were in the earlier part of the century, but you can find at least one at almost every university. Most of them are football players competing in track during the off season to stay in shape. Some basketball stars also excel on the gridiron. But there aren't too many athletes who get the chance to contribute in the Final Four and participate at the major levels in other sports, too.

The following is a chronological list of key Final Four players who also showed their talents in other athletic endeavors:

Multi-Talented Final Four Participants
Year(s) Player(s) Team
1941 Howard 'Red' Hickey Arkansas
Hickey, a first-team All-Southwest Conference forward, was an efficient enough tackle in football to earn a spot on the Razorbacks' all-decade team. A lineman for six seasons in the NFL with two different franchises from 1941 through 1948, Hickey was a member of the 1945 champion Cleveland Rams. He coached the San Francisco 49ers for five years from 1959 through 1963, compiling a 27-27-1 record.
1944 Fred Sheffield, Bob Lewis, Herb Wilkinson Utah
Sheffield, a center standing just 6-1, was the first athlete to place four consecutive years in the high jump at the NCAA track and field nationals. Sheffield was first in 1943 with a best jump of 6-8, second in 1944, tied for first in 1945 and tied for second in 1946. He played briefly with the Philadelphia Warriors in the Basketball Association of America in 1946-47. Guard Bob Lewis played doubles in the 1944 NCAA tennis championship. After World War II, Lewis enrolled at Stanford, where he was a three-year basketball letterman. His claim to fame was defeating tennis legend Pancho Gonzales in a singles match. Herb Wilkinson, who transferred to Iowa and became a three-time Helms All-America after hitting the game-winning shot in the 1944 final, tied for fourth place in the high jump in the 1945 NCAA track and field championships.
1944-46 Warren Amling, Jack Dugger, Don Grate Ohio State
OSU's three consecutive basketball teams to participate in the national semifinals from 1944 through 1946 included two football All-Americas. Lineman Warren Amling, a College Football Hall of Fameer, was the starting guard for the 1945 and 1946 squads and a second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection in 1946. He earned consensus football All-America honors at two positions (guard in 1945 and tackle in 1946). Jack Dugger, a starting forward in 1944 and 1945, was a consensus All-America end on the Buckeyes' 1944 undefeated Big Ten Conference football champion. Dugger, a second-team tackle on the 1942 OSU football team that won the AP national title, played for three different pro football teams from 1946 through 1949. Don Grate, who averaged 11.3 points in four NCAA Tournament games in 1944 and 1945, pitched briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945 and 1946. He once held the world record for the farthest baseball throw (more than 400 feet).
1945 Cecil Hankins Oklahoma A&M
Hankins, a forward who led his team in scoring for the 1945 NCAA Tournament champs, was a two-way back and leading receiver for the football team that trounced TCU, 34-0, in the Cotton Bowl the same academic school year. He tied teammate and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Bob Kurland for most points in the national semifinals and final with 37. He also scored a touchdown in a 33-13 victory against St. Mary's (Calif.) in the 1946 Sugar Bowl, and then went on to play two seasons in the NBA with two different franchises.
1947 Tom Hamilton Texas
Hamilton, a freshman forward the 1947 Final Four team that set a school record for most victories in a season with 26, was a first baseman for the Longhorns' 1949 baseball squad that won the first of the school's four College World Series titles. Hamilton hit .474 that season to lead the Southwest Conference. He played briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952 and 1953. Hamilton was Texas' leading scorer as a senior in hoops.
1948-49 Wallace Jones Kentucky
Starting forward Jones led Kentucky's back-to-back national champions in basketball (1948 and 1949). He also lettered as a two-way end on three college football teams coached by the legendary Bear Bryant and also lettered three times for the 'Cats baseball team. He averaged 10.2 points per game in three NBA seasons with the Indianapolis Olympians.
1952 Charlie Hoag Kansas
Hoag, a swingman who was one of seven Kansas players chosen for the 1952 U.S. Olympic basketball team that captured a gold medal in Helsinki after the Jayhawks won the NCAA title, earned three letters in football. He was a running back and captain.
1953 Hal Patterson, Gil Reich Kansas
Patterson, the second-leading rebounder for Kansas' 1953 national runner-up team, was a two-year football letterman with the Jayhawks as an end and also lettered in baseball. A member of the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame, Patterson scored 54 touchdowns in his 14-year CFL career and had 34 games with at least 100 yards in pass receptions. Starting guard Gil Reich, who averaged eight points per game after transferring from Army, was a two-way back and kicking specialist for the Jayhawks' football squad. Reich was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the 1953 NFL draft after an All-America season as a defensive back but did not play in the NFL.
1954 Jesse Arnelle Penn State
Center Arnelle, the leading scorer at the 1954 Final Four with a total of 43 points in two games, was a four-year football letterman and one Lions' best ends ever. The school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder in basketball also ranks 14th on the career receptions list in football. He averaged 4.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in one season (1955-56) in the NBA with the Fort Wayne Pistons.
1955 K.C. Jones, Bill Russell San Francisco
A defensive specialist, Jones scored a game-high 24 points in the final for 1955 champion San Francisco. He was also selected as a receiver by the Los Angeles Rams in the 30th round of the 1955 NFL draft. Jones averaged 7.4 points and 4.3 assists in nine seasons with the Boston Celtics. The Hall of Famer was a member of the NBA champion his first eight years in the league. USF teammate Bill Russell ranked as the world's No. 7 high jumper in Track and Field News rankings in 1956. Russell won titles in the West Coast Relays, Pacific AAU meet and Central California AAU meet in 1956. His winning mark of 6-9 1/4 in the West Coast Relays was the 11th-best mark recorded in the world in 1956. Russell, the 1955 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, led the Dons to another NCAA title the next season, finishing his college career with averages of 20.7 points and 20.3 rebounds. He was a member of 11 NBA championship teams in his 13-year pro career.
1955 John Parker Kansas
Kansas' starting point guard on the '57 basketball team, was an accomplished javelin thrower for the Jayhawks' track squad. Wilt Chamberlain and Parker were track teammates of Al Oerter, a four-time Olympic gold-medal winner in the discus.
1959-61 Carl Bouldin Cincinnati
A guard for Cincinnati's three Final Four teams from 1959-61 and the Bearcats' leading scorer in two Final Four games for their 1961 national champion, pitched four years in the major leagues with the Washington Senators from 1961 through 1964.
1962 Rick Herrscher San Francisco
Herrscher, a sixth man forward-guard for SMU's 1956 Final Four team, was a utilityman for the New York Mets in 1962 as well.
1962 Wilt Chamberlain, John Parker Kansas
The leading scorer at the 1957 Final Four for national runner-up Kansas, was also a track athlete who participated in three events in college (high jump, triple jump and shot put). He was especially adept in the high jump, winning the 1957 Big Eight Conference outdoor title (6-5), tying for first in the 1957 Drake Relays (6-6 1/2) and tying for first in the 1958 Big Eight indoor title with what was then a school record (6-6 3/4). Chamberlain also played professional volleyball after spending 14 seasons in the NBA.
1962 Bucky Bolyard, Ronnie Retton West Virginia
These two guards for West Virginia's 1959 NCAA runner-up, were All-Southern Conference baseball selections as well. Bolyard, an outfielder-pitcher, was the third-leading scorer as a senior for the Mountaineers' Final Four team despite being blind in one eye from a childhood accident. Retton, a left-handed hitting shortstop, batted over .270 in his first four of six seasons in the Yankees' farm system.
1960-62 John Havlicek, Dick Furry Ohio State
A starting forward for Ohio State's three Final Four teams from 1960-62, Havlicek was selected as a wide receiver by the Cleveland Browns in the seventh round of the 1962 NFL draft. In the Browns' final cut before the start of the regular season, Havlicek was cut. Hondo didn't play college football, but was a two-year letterman for the Buckeyes' baseball squad as a first baseman. Teammate Dick Furry, a forward and first player off the bench for the 1960 national champion, was a three-year letterman as a high jumper for the school's track team.
1962 Bill Hull Wake Forest
Hull, the first athlete in ACC history to start in both football and basketball, was an All-ACC defensive end who played one season with the Dallas Texans after the 1962 AFL draft. He intercepted a pass and returned it 23 yards in overtime of the AFL championship game that year to help set up the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 verdict over Houston. Hull finished among the Demon Deacons' all-time leading rebounders and ranked 10th in the nation in field-goal shooting in 1961 (55.3 percent).
1962 Terry Baker Oregon State
The only football Heisman Trophy winner to play in the basketball Final Four was Terry Baker of Oregon State. Baker was a quarterback who won the Outstanding Player Award in the 1962 Liberty Bowl when he led the Beavers' football squad to a 6-0 victory against Villanova with a school record 99-yard run from scrimmage. He was the basketball team's No. 2 point producer the same academic school year (13.4-point average), but was held scoreless in an 80-46 loss against eventual champion Cincinnati in the 1963 national semifinals.He played quarterback and halfback with the Los Angeles Rams from 1963 through 1965 before playing one season in the Canadian Football League with Edmonton.
1964 Keith Erickson UCLA
Erickson led 1964 champion UCLA in rebounding and scored a team-high 28 points in a 90-84 national semifinal victory against Kansas State. He was also a member of the U.S. Olympic volleyball team. Erickson also was a starting shortstop for the school's baseball team as a sophomore. He averaged 9.5 points per game in 12 seasons in the NBA after helping the Bruins repeat as basketball champion in 1965.
1965 Bill Bradley Princeton
Bill Bradley, who holds the NCAA Tournament record for most points in a single Final Four game (58 against Wichita State in 1965 national third-place game), hit .315 as the first baseman for Princeton's baseball team his sophomore year in 1963.
1966 Pat Riley Kentucky
Riles led Kentucky's 1966 national runner-up in scoring (22 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg) and was selected as a flanker by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL draft though he never played pro football.
1966 Dave Lattin Texas Western
The second-leading scorer and rebounder for the school's 1966 national championship was selected as a flanker by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 17th round of the 1967 NFL draft.
1968 Ken Spain Houston
A member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team in Mexico City after starting at center for Houston's squad that was undefeated entering the Final Four earlier in the year and was selected as an end by the Detroit Lions in the 16th round of the 1969 NFL draft. He played briefly in the ABA with Pittsburgh in the 1970-71 season.
1971 Rick Wanamaker Drake
The center who blocked one of Lew Alcindor's shots in the Bulldogs' 85-82 defeat in the 1969 national semifinals, won the decathlon title in the 1970 NCAA meet, 1971 Pan American Games and 1971 National AAU meet.
1971 Dave Robisch Drake
The leading scorer for Kansas' 1971 Final Four team, was a two-year letterman for the Jayhawks' baseball squad as a pitcher. Robisch, 6-10, was named to the All-Big Eight Conference baseball team as a sophomore. He played 13 years in the ABA and NBA with a total of eight different franchises.
1972 Bobby Jones UNC
The field-goal shooting (66.8 percent) leader for North Carolina's 1972 national third-place team, competed as a high jumper the same academic school year as a sophomore but did not earn a letter. Jones averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 12 seasons with the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
1974 Tim Stoddard North Carolina State
A starting forward for NC State's 1974 national champion team, Stoddard pitched in the 1979 World Series for the Baltimore Orioles; one of six major league teams he played for in 13 big league seasons from 1975 through 1989.
1976 Quinn Buckner Indiana
Quinn Buckner, the senior playmaker and defensive stalwart for Indiana's undefeated 1976 champion, was a starting safety as a freshman for the Hoosiers' football squad, leading it in interceptions and fumble recoveries. Buckner was selected by the Washington Redskins in the 14th round of the 1976 NFL draft. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.3 assists in 10 seasons with three NBA teams.
1976 Wayman Britt Michigan
A starting forward for Michigan's 1976 national runner-up, Britt was selected as a defensive back-wide receiver by the Washington Redskins in the 13th round of the 1976 NFL draft, too. He played briefly with the Detroit Pistons in the 1977-78 season.
1980 Roosevelt Barnes Purdue
Barnes, a reserve guard for the 1980 national third-place basketball team, also played college baseball and football. He was a linebacker who played four seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions after being their 10th-round draft choice in 1982.
1987 Joe Hillman Indiana
Hillman, the top reserve guard on Indiana's 1987 champion team, was an infielder-outfielder for the Hoosiers' baseball team and played two summers in the Oakland A's farm system. He hit .310 with Southern Oregon in the Northwest League in 1988.
1988 Kenny Lofton, Jud Buechler Arizona
The Indians' All-Star outfielder was a substitute guard and integral part of Arizona's 1988 Final Four team. Arizona teammate Jud Buechler, a backup forward for the '88 Wildcats as a sophomore, played professional four-man volleyball in the summer with U.S. Olympians Bob Samuelson and Jeff Stork during his four-year career with several NBA teams.