Sunday is a big day for the Hastings College men's basketball program.
Not only will it have its 1963-64 team inducted into the college's Hall of Fame, but the Broncos will take on the University of Nebraska at Kearney at 2 p.m. at Lynn Farrell Arena.
And there's no better way to celebrate both events than by inviting every basketball player who's ever played for Hastings College back for a reunion.
Mike Trader, who was a head coach at Hastings College for 16 years, has organized a two-day reunion for all former Hastings College basketball players. The timing is perfect, as it is the anniversary of three national tournament teams.
"This whole thing really started when we realized it was the 50th anniversary of that 1964 team. They were the first team to go to the national tournament for coach (Lynn) Farrell, who is our all-time winningest coach, and he's a legend," Trader said. "Then, we realized it was the 40th anniversary for the 1974 team and the 25th for the 1989 team, so everything just fell into place."
Trader knew there was only one game worthy of hosting such an event — the Hastings College vs. UNK game.
"When we looked at when we could do this — (Hastings College) was originally supposed to play (the University of Nebraska at Kearney) in November — it was a coincidence that they both had this weekend off," he said. "That's unusual to have a weekend open, so Kearney agreed to switch. The Kearney game, especially for the old-timers, that was the game. The Kearney-Hastings rivalry game, for years, was the basketball game in the state. It just made sense to try and work it out with that. "
The weekend festivities kick off Saturday when alumni can tour the campus and see the changes in the facilities. Later in the afternoon, the former players will have the opportunity to meet with the current team, followed by a social hour and a dinner.
Trader said most of Saturday will be spent getting players reconnected with the basketball program and the college itself. Sunday is when the teams and players will be recognized.
"Sunday at 10:30 a.m., the 1964 team is being officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at that time — and Ed Lorentzen, as well," he said.
Every alumni will be introduced when the clock hits the eight-minute mark during warmups before Sunday's game. Players and teams will continue to be honored throughout the game during time outs. There will be a special section of the arena marked off so that all the players can sit together and enjoy the game.
Trader expects a large number of former Broncos, including some familiar names, to attend the event.
"Sunday is when we'll have the majority of the people back. I would say somewhere between, just the players, 75 to 100. Most of them will bring their families, so I'd anticipate about 150 people. We've got a bunch of people," he said. "Glen Mays, who is our second-leading scorer, will be here. (Harold) "Hilly" Beck — a lot of people weren't around but he was our second all-American — tremendous athlete, one of the best athletes in the history of Hastings College. He lives in Springfield, Mo., so if the weather's good, he'll be here."
Trader said Hall of Famers such as Mark Hiatt (1982), Eric Rasgorshek (1995), Tim Shanahan (1981) and Scott DeBoer (1989) also will be in attendance.
"There'll be a lot of really good players who people will remember from years past," Trader said.
Sunday is expected to be a fun-filled day for the former Broncos, who will be honored for their achievements and have the opportunity to watch what should be an exciting game. But
Trader said the main goal for the weekend is to reunite the former players with the program, the college and each other.
"A lot of these alums haven't been back on campus for a long time. I think just getting people reconnected with the program that they played in and had a lot of success in and with the school will be good," Trader said. "Just getting people back together and seeing people who they probably haven't seen in 40 or 50 years.
"I think it's just about getting to reconnect and getting them to take a big interest in our basketball program and, like any reunion, relive old memories and have a good time seeing old friends we haven't seen in a while."