As the Nebraska basketball program begins its last season at the Devaney Center, one of the most memorable coaches in program history will be honored for his contributions, as Nebraska will host the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic this November.
The Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic will feature seven teams – Nebraska, Kent State, Valparaiso, Tulane, Nebraska-Omaha, Bethune-Cookman and Chicago State – playing four games each over a 10-day period from Nov. 15 to Nov. 24. The Devaney Center will serve as one of the four host sites, and the Huskers will take on Valparaiso (Thursday, Nov. 15), Nebraska-Omaha (Sunday, Nov. 18), Tulane (Wednesday, Nov. 21) and Kent State (Saturday, Nov. 24).
The event honors the many contributions of Joe Cipriano to the Nebraska basketball program. He served as the Huskers’ head coach from 1963 until 1980, when he died of cancer just four days short of the start of his 18th season. His teams at Nebraska posted a 253-197 record and made three postseason appearances. He was a three-time Big Eight Coach of the Year (1967, 1978 and 1980) and his 253 wins at the time of his death were 167 more than any previous basketball head coach at Nebraska. Cipriano coached the Huskers to a 20-5 record and a No. 11 national ranking in 1965-66, the Huskers’ first winning season in 15 years and the most wins at Nebraska since 1920. The following season, he guided NU to its first postseason appearance, becoming the first Big Eight program to play in the NIT and his 1967-68 squad won the Big Eight Holiday Tournament, Nebraska’s only title in the event’s history. In the 1970s, his teams finished below the .500 mark only once, while his most successful Husker team was in 1977-78, which tied the school record for wins at the time with a 22-8 mark and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.