Dancing Ducks: Help support the Oregon men in the NCAA tournament

Oregon has reached the NCAA semi-finals for the first time since 1939.

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The team's history indicates the sky is the limit.

First-ever National Champions

In 1939, the Tall Firs made University of Oregon history, bringing home the school's first national championship in any sport. It was also the first-ever national college basketball title.

John Dick and his teammates were on the train home to Eugene in March 1939, unaware that the town - and all of Oregon - was ready to celebrate the University of Oregon's win in the first-ever NCAA college basketball tournament.

"They were getting the word that the people back here in Oregon were going a little bonkers over this," the retired Navy rear-admiral, then 92, told KVAL News in 2011. Dick passed away later that year.

Oregon won the first-ever national college basketball playoff over Ohio State, 46-33.

"You really had two teams coming in that were almost certainly the strongest in the nation," said Zachary Bigalke, graduate assistant to the University Archivist at the University of Oregon.

Bigalke on the origin of the Tall Firs name

After train stops in Nyssa, The Dalles, Portland, Salem and many other cities, the 1939 champion Ducks - then known as the "Webfoots" and the "Tall Firs" of Oregon - arrived home in Eugene to a tumultuous welcome.

Bigalke says Oregon fans sat anxiously by their radios, listening to the game via live broadcast.

When Oregonians heard of the victory over the Buckeyes, celebrations began immediately.

Crowds flocked to campus and cars crowded the streets, horns blaring.

"There was one incident of a police officer coming to try to deal with the traffic," Bigalke said, "and the crowd ended up hoisting him up on their shoulder and carrying him around."

Even more impressive was the celebration for the team's homecoming.

"Everyone wanted to catch a view of this team," Bigalke said. "This was a statewide source of pride."

An estimated 10,000 fans crowded the train station to welcome the Tall Firs home.

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