Yale all-time moment No. 5: Bulldogs’ 1961-62 season

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Yale is next by request of Ivy Player of the Year Justin Sears.

The 1961-62 Yale Bulldogs are undoubtedly one of the greatest teams in school history, finishing 13-1 in Ivy play and 18-6 overall while securing the Ivy League championship, the program’s second in a six-year span.

Future NBA draftee Rick Kaminsky was the biggest reason for the Elis’ success in 1962. Not surprisingly, Kaminsky led the way for Yale in its NCAA Tournament appearance against Wake Forest, the No. 7 team in the nation, at the Palestra. Yale amassed a 21-12 lead early but trailed 46-42 at halftime. With the game tied 76-76 and just four seconds remaining, Kaminsky took a shot with four seconds left. He missed and Demon Deacons star Len Chappell (who would embark on a 10-year NBA career after this season) fouled Yale’s Dave Schumacher. Schumacher missed his free throw with a NCAA tourney win on the line and the game went to overtime. Kaminsky fouled out in overtime and the Demon Deacons prevailed, 92-82. Yale has not made a NCAA Tournament appearance since, coming closest this March at the Palestra again. Nevertheless, the Joseph Vancisin-coached 1962 Bulldogs were one of the Ivy League’s greatest teams during an era of comparative strength for the conference, and they deserve to be remembered for a remarkable run.

3 thoughts on “Yale all-time moment No. 5: Bulldogs’ 1961-62 season

  1. Rick Kaminsky, in his years that overlapped Bill Bradley at Princeton, was always a thorn in the side of the Tigers. If memory serves correctly, he was one of the very few who once held BB under 20 points, and always held Dollar Bill well under his 30 point average. Yale was the only team to mar a three year Ivy sweep by the Bradley-led Tigers by tying for the Championship in 1963. (Princeton handily won the playoff against the Eli’s for the NCAA spot and then nearly upset St. Joseph’s in overtime at the Palestra after Bradley fouled out with 41 points).

    • ??? The Palestra was, and still is a grand place to watch a college bball game. My father took me to at least three double headers there when Princeton-penn was paired with a Big 5 match. I especially enjoyed the St. Joe’s fans in song as their moth-eaten hawk ran figure eights around the court. The Palestra was “home court” to all the Big 5, perhaps the best thing that Penn has done for Philadelphia.

      “Nuff”? Clearly a business major.

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