By Dave Walsh. 11 Dec. ’15
The World was at war, and times were tough. What a time for a real Wonder in the Cowboy State.
During the winter of 1943, deep into World War Two, there was something else going on in the state of Wyoming. It was a wonderful thing, and it had never happened before. A champion. And I mean a World Champion, had emerged.
In his fourth season as head coach of the University of Wyoming Cowboy basketball team, Everett Shelton had put together an outstanding team. So talented, and with a powerful will to win, the Cowboys would gather steam and roll to a magical, and downright legendary season. The Pokes would win a record 23 straight games, 11 consecutive weeks without a loss. Wyoming would head to the NCAA Tournament with a 27-2 record. New York City and Madison Square Garden would be a magical place for the Cowboys. First, there were wins over Oklahoma and Texas, leading up to the NCAA title game with Georgetown. That game went into overtime, and the Cowboys won.
The Wyoming Cowboys were the “National” Champions of college basketball. And they weren’t done yet. On April 1st, 1943, the Cowboys defeated that year’s NIT Champion, St. John’s. Wyoming was 31-2, had won two national championships, and in Big Apple banner headlines were declared “World Champions”, and a Wonder of Wyoming.
I’m Dave Walsh, proud to live in Wyoming, and proud to tell her fascinating story.