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Slam Dunked by Ron Gomez with Beryl Shipley Hits Book Stores

Slam Dunked: Ron Gomez with Beryl Shipley

June 20, 2008

This announcement provided by Coach Beryl Shipley

Lafayette area folks wishing to purchase Slam Dunked in Lafayette may phone me at (337)984-1708

This announcement provided by Ron Gomez

Below is the entire blog taken from the Wordclay website concerning the book. It gives you a pretty thorough description, author info and an excerpt.

The ISBN # for ordering purposes is 978-1-6048-1124-7

Wordclay Publishing website is www.wordclay.com. Their phone # is 1-877-655-1720

Price of the book is $19.95

Any book store can order it. Book stores, as you know, work on the demand principle and are not going to order the book until they get demand for it. It is also available through amazon.com and should be available within a couple of weeks at all book websites.

Several reviewers are now reading the book and reviews should be coming out in the next several weeks. I’ll try to keep you abreast of those.

Meanwhile, Beryl and I have a limited supply of the books. We will be at a book signing at Barnes and Noble, 1 to 3 P. M. Saturday July 12 and at Jefferson St. Market downtown during art walk that same evening between 6 and 8 P. m.

In 1957, a fiery, red-haired basketball coach named Beryl Shipley arrived at what was then known as Southwestern Louisiana Institute (later Southwestern Louisiana and now the University of Louisiana – Lafayette). The university had peacefully integrated in 1954 when 114 African-American students were quietly enrolled, but athletics were off limits to minority students for many more years. Shipley wasted little time in turning the basketball program into a powerhouse, winning a slew of Gulf States Conference and later Southland Conference championships. Shipley’s Bulldogs — later known as the Ragin’ Cajuns — proved to be one of the most exciting teams in the country, making the leap from NAIA to NCAA Division I without missing a beat. In 1972, Cajuns’ guard Dwight "Bo" Lamar led the nation in scoring.

Despite consistently putting out quality basketball teams and endearing himself to the community, Shipley had to contend with an unlikely opponent — Louisiana segregationists who were hell-bent on curbing athletic integration in Shipley’s program.

"Slam Dunked" reveals for the first time the questionable procedures and allegations of the NCAA. Newly discovered documents, dating back three decades show the NCAA’s actions abetting those of the racially motivated Louisiana State Board of Education and other segregationists who were determined to punish those responsible for integrating athletics in the state.

In 1965, Shipley’s crew qualified for the NAIA National Collegiate Championship tournament. Because the Louisiana State Board of Education did not permit all-white teams to play integrated teams, Shipley sought and received assurances by the university athletic director that the team would be allowed to compete in the tournament. However, under pressure from the state board, the president ordered the team to cancel its tournament trip. A last-minute student protest at the president’s home forced him to buckle, allowing the team to participate in the prestigious, integrated tournamnet.

In 1966 a new university president gave Shipley his blessing to recruit African-American players, USL became the first public college in the Deep South to field an integrated athletic team. The state board immediately ruled that scholarship money for black players was unavailable. Shipley organized a community effort to raise scholarship money specifically for the black players, which violated NCAA rules. Within days, the state athletic commissioner alerted the NCAA to recruiting violations, resulting in the program being placed on probation in 1968.

In spite of the constant harassment, the Cajuns became the cinderella team of college basketball, breaking into the top ten rankings and recording wins over such powerhouses as Houston University, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Long Beach State, Texas-El Paso and Marshall.

In 1972, the NCAA again introduced recruiting allegations against Shipley’s program. With neither the university nor Southland Conference officials willing to defend against the charges, the Ragin’ Cajuns were given the so-colled "death penalty" in 1973, not being allowed to field a basketball team for two years.

About the Authors
Ron Gomez spent two decades as the play-by-play radio announcer for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He later served three terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He has authored three other books: a memoir, "My Name is Ron and I’m a Recovering Legislator" and two novels "Pelican Games" and "Neat". He is now the publisher of a weekly newspaper in Lafayette, LA.

Beryl Shipley was head basketball coach of the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana – Lafayette) from 1957 to 1973, accruing a nearly 70% winning record during his 16 years at the university. He later coached the San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association for one year, was successfully employed in the oil and gas industry and is now retired in Lafayette, LA.
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For many, it is hard to believe that as late as 1954, schools, universities, buses, water fountains, restroom facilities, restaurants, the whole social structure in the South was segregated. Separate facilities of all of the above were the norm. This was perpetuated on the premise that they were �separate but equal.� The famous 1954 decision by the United States Supreme Court, �Brown v. Board of Education,� changed all of that but the transition to integration did not occur overnight. In fact, the real effects of court-mandated integration were still barely discernible in many areas of the Deep South even a decade later.

The city of Lafayette, Louisiana, located on Interstate 10 roughly between New Orleans and Houston is the home of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). The current population of the city and its environs is nearing 200,000. Fifty years ago it was more like 35,000.

In 1954 the university was named Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI) and its student body numbered just over 6,000. The name was changed in 1960 to the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) and again to ULL in 1999. The student population in 2007 was over 17,000.

Under the guidance of some far-sighted and courageous leaders, black and white, SLI was the first all-white university in the entire South to accept undergraduate African-American students. The integration of the student body was achieved quietly and peacefully. Many have credited the relatively calm transition to the demographic makeup of the city and the area around it known as Acadiana. A large majority of the residents are of French, Catholic heritage. Their ancestors were victims of British discrimination, oppression and exile in the 18th century and thus the descendants were more empathetic to the black community than most.

The black population in Lafayette and Acadiana had been fairly well assimilated over the years. Partly responsible was the fact that the poor Acadians, or �Cajuns� as they came to be known, mostly worked side by side with the black laborers in the agriculture based economy of the area. There had also been considerable interracial social mixing over the years that produced many Afro-American families with French surnames and light complexions who practiced the Catholic religion.

In addition, by the mid 1950�s, the oil and gas industry had attracted an influx of hard driving, ambitious drillers and geologists who brought another distinct culture to the area. They too were openly accepted and embraced by the native population.

School integration was not totally without tension, but it was achieved without violence, without sit-ins and without law-enforcement interference.

Still, by 1965 there was not one Afro-American athlete under scholarship or participating in NCAA sports in any of the states of the Deep South. With his roots in the hills of Tennessee, Beryl Shipley, the fiery, red-haired, head basketball coach of the University of Southwestern Louisiana Bulldogs changed all that. Those changes produced some of the most exciting college sports moments ever witnessed in Louisiana. They also produced great resentment and even hatred within the university and athletic community in the state and they ultimately led to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eliminating the basketball program with an unprecedented suspension, or �death penalty� of two years.

Coach Shipley, aided by the research and writing skills of his older brother Tom, reveals in this book, for the first time, the questionable procedures and allegations of the NCAA. Through newly discovered documents, dating back three decades, they show the NCAA�s actions abetting those of the racially motivated Louisiana State Board of Education and other segregationists in the �60�s and early �70�s who were determined to punish those responsible for integrating athletics in the state.

Beryl Shipley, a robust 81 years old at this writing, with a distinct echo of the Tennessee hills in his speech, has nurtured the burning desire through the years to have this story told as it was never told during the events that transpired.

This is that story. Admittedly, there is a lingering bitterness in what the coach believes to be a miscarriage of justice. Some persons may take exception to the relating of some events in the manuscript, but it is all told based on solid research and corroborated memories.

Athletic Network Footnote: Both Gomez and Shipley have profiles posted in the Athletic Network.

Posted June 20, 2008