From the archives: Eugene celebrates Tall Firs victory in 1939 basketball championship

    Crowd celebrates Oregon's 1939 victory in the inaugural national college basketball title game. (From the University of Oregon Archives/Used with permission)

    The Tall Firs of Oregon captured the inaugural national basketball title with a 46-33 win over Ohio State in 1939.

    What then?

    There wasn't a Disneyland to go to yet.

    Sports talk shows were still the widespread adoption of television away.

    So what did they do?

    "After the game, they went down to the railroad depot, they got back on the train, and headed back to Oregon," said Keith Richard, the archivist emeritus at the University of Oregon.

    Back in 1939, the team didn't have a budget for hotels and a celebration.

    But while the team traveled home, Oregonians who had listened to the game live on the radio took action.

    "They were getting the word that the people back here in Oregon were going a little bonkers over this," John Dick, a starter on the 1939 team and retired Navy rear-admiral, then 92, said in 2011. Dick passed away later that year.

    After train stops in Nyssa, The Dalles, Portland, Salem and many other cities, the 1939 champion Ducks arrived home in Eugene to a tumultuous welcome.

    "There are photos in the archives showing the massive number of people waiting for the train to come in," Richard said.

    (Video from the University of Oregon Archives/Used with permission)

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