Keeping the ball in motion until Tip-Off
Do the math. If it’s 90 miles from DePaul University’s campus in Chicago to Milwaukee, and a basketball is bounced approximately twice per yard and there are 1,760 yards per mile, it could mean a group of engineering students dribbled the ball more than 300,000 times to deliver it for Tip-Off in 1965.
And the dribbling marathon didn’t end with reaching campus but continued in the student union. Marquetters worked to keep the ball in motion until Saturday afternoon at the Milwaukee Arena, when team captain Tom Flynn shouldered what had to be the most awesome responsibility of the day. His job? Sink the basketball before the then-Warriors’ game against the DePaul Blue Demons.
Bringing the basketball across state lines was part of the build up to Marquette’s All University Weekend and annual Tip-Off parade, which once earned mention in Time magazine as one of the “largest college-sponsored parades in the nation,” according to The Marquette Tribune. In 1965, the parade featured 27 floats, novelty acts and marching groups. A night-ending concert in the gym featured jazz saxophonist Stan Getz and comic Jackie Vernon. Tip-Off launched the basketball season from 1962–67. In May 1968, the Trib reported that the Tip-Off Council revised celebrations, establishing instead a Kick-off Weekend in October and a Winterfest in February. — JMM