103 Years of Mountaineers

    The 2000 campaign marked the centennial of men’s basketball at Mansfield University. To honor the anniversary, a season-long series of promotions and recognitions commemorated the proud tradition of MU basketball.

    Basketball first hit the Mansfield University campus, then called Mansfield State Normal School, around 1897, when there were reports of games being played on the lawn of North Hall.

    In 1900 teams were organized for both men and women and the long and successful history of basketball at MU began. The Mountaineer men won their first ever game and, for the most part, have been successful ever since.

    By 1906 basketball was drawing large and enthusiastic crowds as the Mountaineers posed a 12-3 mark. In 1916 Mansfield earned its first championship with a 10-2 record including a 37-16 win over West Chester in the first Pennsylvania State Normal School Championship game.

    The Mountaineers won state honors again in 1918, also claiming a 30-27 win over Syracuse. The 1919 team posted a 6-1 mark and featured two future professional baseball players in Joe Shaute and Mike Gazella.

    Mansfield would produce two state championship squads during the "Roaring ‘20s." Under the direction of Marvin Kimble, the 1926 cagers took the state crown with an 11-1 record. In 1929, Marvin produced a perfect 12-0 mark, including wins over Bloomsburg, Bucknell, Elizabethtown, East Stroudsburg, Dickinson, and West Chester.

    MU continued to produce competitive teams during the ‘30s and ‘40s. In the late ‘50s, the Mountaineers began a dynasty that lasted into the ‘80s.

    Starting with the 1958-59 team, Mansfield produced 21 playoff teams over the next 27 seasons. The 1960-61 Mountaineers won the first Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship ever held. They went on to win four more state titles, more than any other school except Cheyney.

    The 1963-64 squad, under the direction of Bill Clark, advanced to the NAIA National Playoffs in Kansas City where it won two of three games. The Mountaineers repeated that trip to the national finals the next year as well.

    Mansfield defeated Mount St. Mary’s in the regional playoffs during the 1970-71 season, and returned to Kansas City for the NAIA National Championship. Ed Wilson guided the Mountaineers during the ‘70s and ‘80s, winning a record 300 games.

    MU returned to the top of the PSAC during the 1974-75 campaign, winning the state championship and advancing to the NCAA Division III national playoffs. The Mountaineers again went to the NCAA playoffs the next season and grabbed the ECAC Division II titles during the 1976-77 and 1979-80 seasons.

    During the 1996-97 season, the Mountaineers became the only team in PSAC history to win championships in each decade the conference has been in existence, by winning the school’s sixth title with a 94-80 win over Clarion. Mansfield was ranked 10th in the nation in the final NCAA Division II poll, and advanced to the semi-finals of the NCAA East Regional.

    That team tied the school record for wins in a season with a final 26-4 record, the best winning percentage of any Pennsylvania school at the NCAA Division I, II or III level, and set a new school mark for wins during the regular season with 23.

     The Mountaineers returned to the PSAC playoffs in 2000-2001 under the direction of current head coach Vince Alexander. In 2002-2003 Alexander directed the Mountaineers to the ECAC Division II title and berth in the PSAC playoffs.

    Few schools in the conference can match the success of Mansfield’s basketball program. With the accolades of Mansfield’s past firmly in mind, the new Mountaineers are determined to establish themselves among the school’s elite.


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