Ivy 60 for 60: Ron Haigler

Ron Haigler averaged 18.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for his career, and Penn went to the NCAA Tournament in all three of his collegiate seasons.
Ivy Hoops Online announces the next entry in Ivy 60 for 60, our series running through 60 of the greatest players in Ivy League men’s basketball history after a hiatus to continue celebrating six decades of modern Ivy League basketball. An Ivy 60 for 60 for Ivy women’s basketball will follow.
Ron Haigler was the first great player of what could be called the “Penn Dynasty 2.0” (the Chuck Daly Era).
Dick Harter and his assistant, recruiter extraordinaire Digger Phelps, established Penn as both an Ivy dynasty and national power with their late ’60s recruiting of Dave Wohl, Steve Bilsky, Corky Calhoun and Bobby Morse among others. In 1971, after a 28-1 season during which Penn was ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press and reached what would now be considered the Elite 8, Harter and Phelps moved on to Oregon and Fordham, respectively. Future Hall of Fame coach Chuck Daly was hired to replace them and he was greeted with a very deep pool of talent led by future NBA player Phil Hankinson. These players were followed in short order by Bob Bigelow, John Engles and Ron Haigler.

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Ivy 60 for 60: Bobby Morse

Bobby Morse averaged 16.4 points per game during his three seasons with Penn, in which the Quakers went 78-6. (Penn Athletics)

Following our countdown of the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s men’s basketball history this summer, Ivy Hoops Online is delighted to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of modern Ivy League basketball by honoring the top 60 players in Ivy hoops history (in no particular order). For the next entry in our Ivy 60 for 60 series, we focus on Bobby Morse, one of the greatest players in Penn basketball history…

Penn’s 6-foot-8 Bobby Morse was known in Philly parlance as “Larry Bird before there was a Larry Bird.”. With floppy blond hair and a classic but deadly rainbow jump shot, he was possibly the original “stretch four,” even though he played before the adoption of the three-point line. Morse was a key member of the 1971 Quakers, the best team in Ivy League history. He teamed with Corky Calhoun, Dave Wohl, and Steve Bilsky to start the season 29-0 and achieve a No. 3 national ranking. In the NCAA Tournament, Penn reached the Elite 8 before losing 90-47 to hometown rival Villanova – a team that they had beaten just a few weeks earlier to win the Big 5 title – and missing an opportunity to play against UCLA in the Final Four. While this loss would haunt the Penn program for “what might have been,” Morse and Calhoun bounced back to lead the ’72 Quakers to another No. 3 national ranking and Sweet 16 appearance. No other team in Ivy League history has come even close to accomplishing what Morse and his teammates accomplished between 1970 and 1972 (possible exception – the ’65-’67 Princeton Tigers featuring Gary Walters, Chris Thomforde, Ed Hummer, Joe Heiser and John Haarlow … with a 1965 assist from Dollar Bill Bradley).

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