As WGN TV celebrates 75 years, we’re looking back with a series of stories on the history and the memories.
CHICAGO – One of the most popular teams in the “Windy City” during the late 1970s and 1980s was a basketball squad making national headlines in Lincoln Park.
Led by head coach Ray Meyer, DePaul men’s basketball established one of the best programs in the country during that era, including a few national championship contenders.
With standout players like Mark Aguirre (Westinghouse High School), Clyde Bradshaw, Terry Cummings (Carver High School), Skip Dillard (Westinghouse High School), and Gary Garland, the team made the NCAA Tournament 14 times from 1976-1992.
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They advanced to the Final Four in 1979, falling to Larry Bird’s Indiana State team in the national semifinals in Salt Lake City before beating Penn in the third-place game. They had a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1984.
Helping the exposure of the program was WGN, who would often televise DePaul men’s basketball games during this era. Fans in Chicago became familiar with the group while others around the country began to discover the Blue Demons as they became a college basketball power.
Having games on Channel 9 boosted the profile of the program and aided a memorable run of success.
Joey Meyer, who served as an assistant coach under his father and then head coach of the program from 1984-1997, took some time to discuss that era and the impact of WGN as part of our celebration of the 75th anniversary of the station in 2023 on GN Sports.
Chris Boden talked with Meyer about that special time in DePaul’s history, and you can see that in the video above.