WHEN DAYTON'S season ended with its 64--58 loss to Wichita State in the NCAA tournament last week, 70-year-old Carol Gallagher was disappointed. The former Flyers cheerleader had received some attention last week after the SI Vault Twitter account posted a photo of her (above, far left) from the 1967 championship game between UCLA and Dayton at Freedom Hall in Louisville.
That game didn't go well for Dayton either (the Flyers lost to the undefeated Bruins 79--64), but Gallagher has a memory from that day of her encounter with the national player of the year. "I was entering the lobby of the hotel where both UCLA and Dayton were staying. I had my uniform on and wanted to change. As I entered the lobby, the UCLA team was there and someone yelled, 'Hey, there's a Dayton cheerleader!' They kind of surrounded me, and I must have looked startled or scared because Kareem stepped up and said, 'Leave the little girl alone.' He then escorted me to the elevator and rode up to my floor to see that I got there safely. Yes, he was nice. Very quiet. Also very polite to people who approached him as we walked through the lobby to the elevator."
Gallagher, who splits her time between Minnesota and Florida, recalls wondering what photos would commemorate the game. "I remember thinking [publications] would never show us in our Catholic-school-modest long-sleeved uniforms and long skirts because the UCLA cheerleaders were so cute in their little short uniforms," she says. As for the photo, disseminated on March 9, Gallagher says, "I had no idea the picture even existed. I sent it to Dan Sadlier [one of the Flyers players] last week and he said, 'Did they even have color film back then?'"