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Some 60's / 70's history

January 1st, 1970 - submitted by Roger Boulton

You may know some of the back story regarding the late 60 and early 70 of the Club.

The dilemma was that several MU students were playing in Div 1 at Albert Park often before they entered MU. Most played with the old version of the Melbourne Tigers, Ray Watson, Ian Speed, Mal Speed, Peter Byrne, Alan Mayhew and me. The MU team was in Div 2 and there was no incentive for us to leave that level of competition and coaching to play for MU. This came to a head with Bill Tickner the sports administrator at the time, who demanded that we join the MUBC if we wanted to represent the University at the Australian University competition. Clearly a silly demand if the Club was ever to reach Div 1 competition. There were divided opinions within the Club as to keeping its more social and less competitive nature versus wanting to play at the Div 1 level with a more demanding training regimen and coaching staff who had played at that level. Alby Oaten and Lards Douglas should have some thoughts on those times.

This changed when Steve Pearson is brought in as Coach and then when Mal Speed is appointed. The result is the rise to Div 1 and serious Sat practice times. (I played against Steve in his younger days as a player for the Melbourne Demons, the old YMCA team. I was 16 when I played in Div 1 Auburn team in 1965, this was the Tigers second team, and we played in its own right in the Open competition, giving us both practice time against the some of (all of) the best players in Australia and playing lots of court time at the highest level every week.)

I graduated in 1970 and went onto do a masters then PhD in chemical engineering, so I could not keep the training schedule for the Tigers and retired from top level basketball. In 1974 I accepted a position as a temporary lecturer in Chemical Engineering and spent much of my spare time helping at the Monnington School for Deaf and Deaf and Blind students in Kew. These took up more time and energy and I could not keep playing in Div1 even at MUBC. I accepted the position at UC Davis in April 1976 and have been here until retiring in 2019.

I (think) Roger may have also mentioned Richard Newton as an MUBC alumni and Vic Norman of the Kangaroo Cafe in New Orleans