RICHLAND — Nearly forty years ago, the Richland Bombers won the boys state basketball championship, defeating Hazen 54-53 in the Class AAA final at the University of Washington.
Steve Neill, a member of that championship squad, wants to give his teammates -- and Bombers basketball fans -- another chance to celebrate that memorable day.
Neill and members of Richland's 1972 championship team will be honored at halftime of today's CBBN 4A boys matchup between Chiawana and Richand at Art Dawald Gymnasium. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Neill is one of nine who will be on hand, along with Frank Teverbaugh, who coached the 1972 team to the title.
Richland went 23-2 that year, winning 14 league games in a row and then finishing the season with seven consecutive victories that included a Big Nine district title win over Davis, a regional title win over Shadle park and the state title win over Hazen.
"It was a great time in all our lives, and we all remember it to this day," Neill said. "We don't remember the math and English lessons, but we sure remember playing for Frank."
There will be an informal gathering in the Richland High School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m., and anyone who played for Teverbaugh is welcome to attend. After the game, everyone is invited to head down to Ripples Riverside Bar & Grill at the Red Lion in Richland.
Neill said that Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice, a Bombers graduate and close friend of Teverbaugh, is trying hard to clear his schedule to attend the event.
Teverbaugh, a member of the Central Washington Sports Hall of Fame, went 320-52 (a winning percentage of .860) in 15 seasons between Reardon and Richland High Schools. His lessons didn't stop on the basketball court, however.
He also coached Reardon to football state titles in 1966 and 1967, and then helped guide the Bombers' freshman team at Richland.
"He and Ben Jacobs coached freshman team together, and I don't know if they lost 10 games over 10 years," said Tim Ruane, a former Teverbaugh assistant and current Richland baseball assistant. "Frank's a legend. He's 78 years old and we want to honor him and his team while he's still kicking."