‘Lights Out In Blackham’ Documentary Tells The Amazing History Of USL Men’s Basketball [Video]
In the 1960s, USL Men's Basketball coach Beryl Shipley stepped out in a big way against the South's unspoken rules on athletic integration. Losing was just not something Shipley was OK with, and he did everything he felt he could to be a winner. There's also the story of the NCAA's complete obliteration of pretty much the entire Cajuns athletic programs as a result of Shipley's risk taking. The story is being made into a documentary called "Lights Out In Blackham" and it looks absolutely amazing.
The story of Coach Shipley and his players has been told before by ESPN, The New York Times and countless others, but there's still so much mystery surrounding the story. "Lights Out In Blackham" aims to unravel and explain it, definitively, once and for all. It truly is a very important piece of Sports History, Black History and Acadiana History.
Shipley has said "If you're losing, you're a nice guy. I didn't want to be a nice guy". He fearlessly made many risky moves as coach of the Cajuns, moves that the NCAA called "the largest infractions case we've ever seen". Was he really guilty making illegal decisions with the team, or was this just the NCAA's way of showing USL who's boss?
This trailer on youtube features many players from USL's 1965 basketball team that helped broke down racial barriers in college basketball. I'm not certain when the full documentary will be released, but watching this trailer for it, I can't wait because it looks so good.
To quote the films Facebook page, "This is about a small isolated city that gained an identity along with pride, this is about what it means to be a RAGIN CAJUN!"