Cougar History: When The Cougars Were Ranked #1…

Some vintage UH memories from the two previous seasons when UH has been #1 in the AP Poll.

Every week UH has been ranked #1:

AP Poll #1Record That Week
3/11/1968Final Poll (2-2 after)
3/14/1983Final Poll (4-1 after)

Some of the members of Phi Slama Jama:

  • Coach Guy V. Lewis, the Phi Slama Jama House Director, was 60 years old;
  • Guy V. passed in 2015 but would be 100 years old today;
  • Clyde Drexler is now 60;
  • Hakeem (Akeem) will be 60 in January;
  • Benny Anders is also 59;
  • Michael Young is 61; and
  • Houston Post columnist Tommy Bonk, who coined the phrase Phi Slama Jama, is in his early 70s.

Reid Gettys played point guard for the Cougars in 1983, the last time they were ranked #1. Tuesday, he will call UH’s game on ESPN+. Every week UH has been ranked #1:

The AP Top 10 When UH ascended to the top spot for the first time (January 22, 1968):

3North CarolinaACC
4New MexicoWAC
5St. BonaventureIndependent

Houston started 1968 ranked #2 and stayed there for the next seven polls. After beating #1 UCLA in the Game of the Century, the Cougars moved to #1 and stayed there the rest of the season (the AP Poll ends before the Final Four).

Twelve days after becoming #1, UH played a game at Madison Square Garden vs. Marshall. Big E in the Big Apple was a Big Deal:

Marshall players walking into the Garden // Courtesy of The Parthenon (Marshall student newspaper)

Bobby Knight coached Army in the other game of the doubleheader.

Before the final rankings came out, #1 UH beat #9 Louisville in the Midwest Region (Sweet 16 equivalent). Louisville was led by Wes Unseld, but he was no match for Elvin, who finished with 39 points and 24 boards in the game.

“That son-of-a-gun is fantastic the way he kisses the ball off the backboard,” Louisville coach John Dromo said about Hayes.

In the 14 games after becoming #1, Elvin Hayes produced nine of the top 20 rebounding games in UH history.

The AP Poll the last time UH was ranked #1 (March 14, 1983):

3St. John'sBig East
5IndianaBig Ten
8North CarolinaACC
10MissouriBig 8

In between times at #1, it has been 14,503 days.


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Ryan Monceaux
Ryan Monceaux
Ryan is the publisher of GoCoogs. He is also a real estate agent and entrepreneur.


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