To many people, the story of the plane crash on the evening of December 13, 1977, is the story of the 1977 University of Evansville basketball team. But that night wasn’t their story.
It was only the end.
Long before the DC-3 carrying the Aces took off that night, the 1977-78 season was set to be a remarkable year in University of Evansville basketball history. That season, Hall of Fame coach Arad McCutchan had retired, and the University had made the move from the College Division - where they had won five national championships - to Division I. And new head coach Bobby Watson had brought in eight new freshmen to start the university’s tenure in the upper echelon of NCAA sports.
Through firsthand interviews with more than 75 people, From the Ashes tells the story of the 1977 UE men’s basketball team, and the story of the city and university devastated by their loss. It tells of the journey into Division I, the first four games, and the crash. It describes a city in mourning, and a university determined to rebuild, honoring its fallen team by creating the Division I basketball legacy they had embarked upon before the crash.
“Out of the agony of this hour, we shall rise,” said UE President Wallace Graves in the days after the crash. “Out of the ashes of a desecrated team, we shall build a new basketball team - stronger, more valiant than ever before. That was the mission of our fallen brothers. Their dream will be fulfilled; their supreme sacrifice will be vindicated.”
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