LU’s Martin, Bryson, Dow top SLC all-60s team

Published 6:36 pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Two of Lamar University’s all-time greats, Don Bryson and Earl Dow, and its first head coach, Jack Martin, were named to the Southland Conference 1960s All-Decade men’s basketball team released Wednesday by the league office.

    Announcement of the all-1960s team was done as part of the SLC’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration. The 1960s team consisted of two players from each of the five schools that made up conference membership from its inaugural year of 1963-64 through the 1968-69 season.

    Martin, who was Lamar’s first coach and headed up the program for 25 years before stepping down after the 1975-76 season, shared Coach of the Decade honors with Dee Nutt of Abilene Christian. He posted a 334-283 record, led the Cardinals to the very first SLC title and his best-ever LU team, led by Dow, went 20-4 in the 1968-69 season and at one point was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA College Division rankings.

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    During that 68-69 season, Martin’s Lamar Tech team started 15-0 with victories over Pepperdine, Memphis State, Texas A&M, Tulsa and the University of Houston team that had shocked NCAA champ UCLA the previous year in the Astrodome. Martin was named SLC Coach of the Year in both 1969 and 1970.

    Bryson, a three-year starter for Martin, became the first Cardinal player to be named to an All-America team, after earning third-team designation by the Associated Press his senior season. He earned the honor by averaging 23.2 points and 14.9 rebounds and helping Lamar to an 18-6 record.

    For his career, Bryson averaged 16.5 points and 12.4 rebounds, scored 30 or more points six times and had three games in which he scored 20 or more points and had 20 or more rebounds. His 26 rebounds against Southern Mississippi in 1965 are the third most in school history, he’s second in most 20-rebound games (5) and his trio of 20-20 games is No. 1.

    Bryson’s 23.2 points per game his senior year are third highest in school history behind Alan Daniels (23.5) and Dow (23.2). His 931 career rebounds are fourth most, behind Clarence Kea (1,143), B.B. Davis (1,122) and James Gulley (967). It should be pointed out that Kea played in 117 games, Davis in 119, Gulley 113 and Bryson in only 75.

    The New Orleans native is also No. 4 for most free throws made in a season (143), No. 4 in career rebounds (343), No. 2 in single season rebound average (14.9) and No. 6 in single season field goal percentage (61.1).

    Dow, arguably the most exciting player in school history, was a junior college transfer who did most of his damage as a senior. An explosive 6-1 guard, he scored what was then a single season school record of 560 points, while averaging 23.2 points, a record which stood until Alan Daniels averaged 23.5 in 2006.

    Named third-team All-America, he was the catalyst on Martin’s 1968-69 team that opened with 15 consecutive wins and was acknowledged with a feature story in Sports Illustrated. That Cardinal outfit was not only ranked No. 1 in the NCAA college division, but earned a No. 18 ranking in UPI’s national poll of all schools. Being ranked in both polls was unprecedented.

    Dow built his reputation by dominating against Lamar’s toughest foes. He scored 31 points against Memphis St., 28 against Texas A&M, 23 against Houston and 25 against a Tulsa team that was unbeaten and nationally ranked when it came to Beaumont.

    While Bryson and Dow were two of the SLC’s best in the early days, Player of the Decade honors went to Larry Jeffries of Trinity University in San Antonio. Jeffries, a smooth 6-6 forward, was a four-time All-SLC choice and a three-time NCAA All-America. Among other things, he owns the top three single season scoring marks in conference history.

    Between now and the conference tournament, the SLC will be releasing other all-decade teams. At the league tourney, it will also announce the top moment in its basketball history. Winner of that is being determined in an online poll at Lamar fans are encouraged to vote.

    Lamar has two of the 10 nominees — its 80-game home-floor winning streak from 1978-84 and its remarkable stretch of NCAA tournament success from 1979-83. During that stretch, Cardinal teams won four consecutive first-round games over Detroit, Weber State, Alabama and Missouri and, after the 1980 victory over Weber State on its home floor, reached the Sweet 16 by taking out Oregon St.

    LU is also part of a third voting option labeled the “Awesome 80s era — The Cardinals, The Mailman (Karl Malone), Joe Dumars and more.”