The year was 1975. The Reds beat the Red Sox in one of the most exciting World Series ever. The Steelers beat the Vikings 16-6 in the Super Bowl. Ali whipped Frazier in the Thrilla in Manila.
And in a steamy lockerroom at Baldwin-Wallace College, Marietta College's men's basketball team celebrated MC's first Ohio Conference cage title in 20 years after beating the Yellow Jackets 75-68.
Now, 36 years long years later, the Pioneers are Ohio Conference regular season champs again. And they'll try to do even better than the 1975 team by winning the school's only tournament crown in the 52 years of the tourney. The best previous effort was a pair of runnerup finishes, losing to Otterbein 101-86 in 1986 and 60-59 at the buzzer to Baldwin-Wallace in 1996.
The '75 team was upset by Capital 54-46 at Denison in the first round and went 1-1 here in the NCAA tourney.
Marietta coach Jon VanderWal expressed before the season he thought he had a championship-caliber team. He had Kevin Knab and Trevor Halter, two of the OAC's best players, coming back plus a good supporting cast.
After going 10-16 last season, a winning season would be fine. But the Pioneers soared to the top, even without a single senior.
A huge key was the recruitment of explosive point guard Tyler Hammond to erase a weakness. He's been a good trigger to a hot-shooting, high-scoring, attacking offense.
It takes good coaching and assistant coaching working together, of course, for success. The Pioneers have had that. But a bigger factor may be the staff's recruiting efforts.
"We've brought in really good recruiting classes the last three years," VanderWal told a D3hoops reporter a few weeks ago. "We made a big jump playing those freshmen who are now juniors. We've worked hard playing a lot of young guys and implementing our system and way of doing things."
VanderWal substitutes freely to keep his starters fresh and it has paid off. A deep and talented bench has played a vital role.
When you're playing a lot of close games, you need players with a good reservoir of enery down the stretch. The Pioneers have played 13 games decided by 10 points or less. They've won 10, including six of eight on the road in the OAC, a tough conference where it's extremely difficult to win in a hostile environment.
But Marietta has earned the No. 1 seed and all its OAC Tournament games will be played in the roaring and friendly confines of Ban Johnson Arena
And there's not only another championship to be won. To the winner goes an NCAA berth.
Bill Robinson is a former Marietta Times sports editor.