Go Utes!
Go Utes!
1916 AAU National Championship




Nov. 21, 2007

In 1916, the headline read "Utah 5 Is Champion of World in Basketball." There was no NCAA back then, no NIT and no Final Four. College basketball was made up of conferences and Utah won the Rocky Mountain Conference with a perfect record of 6-0. It is still the only undefeated season in Utah history.

Then, it was on the train and off to Chicago to playin the AAU National Tournament. After a first-round bye, Utah beat the Olympic Athletic Club 34-15 in the semifinals. Center Roger Van Pelt, guards E. Lowell Romney and Bill Goodrich and forwards Rulon W. Clark and Clyde Packer led the team into the tournament.

Now, the Utes had to play the hometown favorite Illinois Athletic Club for the national championship and the Chicago Herald trophy. Here's a quote from the March 16, 1916 Salt Lake Tribune: "The crowd was the largest that ever saw a basketball contest, so far as records show. There were easily 3,500 screeching rooters on the main floor or peering down from the tiers of galleries in the First Regiment Armory."

Utah led 15-10 at halftime with Clark, Packer and Van Pelt supplying the highlights for Utah. But with 15 seconds remaining, the Illinois Athletic Club had a one-point lead until Clyde Packer (once again, quoting the Salt Lake Tribune) "got his hand on the ball and shot the sphere for Utah's final and deciding basket. The count 28 to 27. Utah wins the AAU National Championship and the Utah 5 is champion of the world."

 

 

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