TERRE HAUTE —
Nine-ninety-eight … 999 … 1,000 … 1,001 … 1,002 … and counting.
The Rose-Hulman men’s basketball program reached the 1,000-victory plateau in a 71-42 win at Fontbonne University earlier this month. For the record, entering Wednesday’s home game vs. Manchester, the win total stands at 1,002.
The program’s been in existence since 1897 — peach basket days? — so at first glance, one might think 1,000 wins in their 114th season is not that much to crow about.
From 1897-1962, the team didn’t play nearly as many games, averaging under 15 games a season. That doesn’t count not fielding a team for 10 seasons. Heck, they were still playing on a dirt floor in venerable Shook Fieldhouse as recently as the 1963-64 season.
Yet the program holds a distinction during its early days by defeating 14 current NCAA Division I programs. The Engineers handed the University of Kentucky its fifth worst defeat in history, 52-11, in 1910.
A large percentage of the 1,000 wins has occurred in the past 48 years, “the modern times.” Head coaches John Mutchner (1963-88) and Shaw (1989-95, assistant coach; 1994-present, head coach) have been involved in 654 of the 673 victories in that timespan.
Their programs have won nine conference championships and appeared in eight NCAA Division III tournaments.
Mutchner and Shaw shared recollections of their time with the Engineers’ program:
John Mutchner (340 wins)
Mutchner, now 77, admitted he almost didn’t come to Rose in his initial interview process.
“I thought at the time, this is a job graveyard. I can’t win here,” he laughed. “The first interview ended as a mutual decision this was not a good for fit for either of us. [Rose] just had to change it’s athletic culture.”
But a few weeks later, Mutchner was contacted again.
“John Logan [school president] wanted to talk to me,” Mutchner recalled. “We hit it off right away. I told him ‘we absolutely had to recruit or you’re not going to be successful. Athletics have to be supported.’ [Logan] agreed.”
Mutchner stated that Logan and the next school president, Sam Hulbert, “understood the role of athletics at the school.”
The Engineers played in Shook Fieldhouse (1949-1997) during his tenure, which was located where the parking lot where the current Sports and Recreation Center is now.
“We had the dirt floor my first year, but the administration allowed us to make changes and put in a Tartan floor,” he recalled.
Crowds were not large for games when he started coaching, so he literally introduced “bells and whistles” long before the term became popular to enliven the fan experience.
Mutchner made good use of two bells, two police sirens, two submarine crash-dive Klaxons, and a cannon.
When all the noise created reached a crescendo with the firing of the cannon, a 40-foot banner would drop from the ceiling, proclaiming “Give ‘em Hell Rose.” Then the pep band would launch into a rousing version of the school fight song.
“We needed to drum up enthusiasm, so we kind of went to false enthusiasm,” he said.
Mutchner recalled one episode with the cannon, saying, “For one of our bigger rivals, I put in about twice as much powder. Jim Rendel, who was intramural director at the time, had an office at the fieldhouse. When the cannon was set off, the sound reverberated so much, it blew 20 or 30 sheets of papers off his bulletin board. It was raining paper in his office.”
Once the team started to win, “that false enthusiasm turned into genuine enthusiasm,” Mutchner said.
Mutchner also set in motion Rose teams traveling abroad to play basketball at least once every four years. Rose has the distinction of being the first college team to play in the Soviet Union, “back when they were still flying the hammer and sickle flag,” Mutchner noted.
Mutchner enjoyed 10 straight winning seasons heading into the 80’s. After a couple losing seasons, his final team won 17 games.
“I’ve had a lot of good players, but more important, a lot of outstanding people,” Mutchner noted. “I still talk to a lot of my former players. Many of them have done very well for themselves in the business world.”
252 wins, 72 wins as assistant
One year after Mutchner retired in 1988, Shaw was brought in as an assistant to current DePauw coach Bill Fenlon. Shaw assisted Fenlon for two years, three years under Bill Perkins, before assuming the head coaching position in 1994.
“It’s a tribute to a lot of players, a lot of coaches, a lot of administrators who’ve made it possible for us to win a 1,000 games,” Shaw said.
Shaw has coached in both Shook Fieldhouse and the new 2,000-seat Hulbert Arena.
“My first seven years here I was in Shook, and I loved Shook,” Shaw stated. “I love where we’re now due to the creature comforts, but I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a better environment for a small college basketball game than Shook.”
Shaw said the last regular-season game, against rival Wabash, at Shook Fieldhouse was a highlight of his career.
“It was definitely the loudest. It was packed,” he recalled. “There were people on all sides of the court. The Wabash fans were there banging their pots and pans, our students banging wooden blocks. The consequences were high because the league championship was on the line. It was a special, special day.”
“With all the bells and whistles that came with it and all the blemishes that came with it, it was a unique environment. I was here when we opened in this place and it’s one of the better venues in small college basketball. Obviously, I have a lot of good memories here too.”
Shaw’s seen highs and lows in his coaching tenure. Fielding three teams in the NCAA DIII tournament, and also seen his teams endure six losing seasons in a row.
But his team’s fortunes are enjoying an uptick once again, going 16-10 last year and winning five of six games for a promising start this season.
“Athletic participation is as good a learning tool as anything they will ever do in their lives,” he said. “Not only is it memorable, enjoyable, a great stress relief, but the lessons they learn playing are healthy ones and I think they get as much out of their experience playing college basketball as anything else they do.
“That being said, I’m fully aware and supportive of the fact that their academic goals are the primary reason they are here and has to remain the No. 1 focus, without question.”
School began piling up victories in 19th century
TERRE HAUTE —
Nine-ninety-eight … 999 … 1,000 … 1,001 … 1,002 … and counting.
Another Rose freshman making big splash
The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.
Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again
Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Rose’s Strickland named HCAC MVP again, Shaw wins Coach of the Year
Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.
Metro roundup: Rose baseball loses 7-0 in Florida
Mount Union University remained unbeaten this baseball season with a 7-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
Mount Union improved to 5-0 when the game was called after eight innings due to significant rain.
Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener
Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title
For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title
Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.
Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant
Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.
Rose coach still ‘hanging around’
Approaching the start of his 25th season as Rose-Hulman’s baseball coach, Jeff Jenkins remembers some of his 601 victories, most of his teams’ highlights from five NCAA Division III tournament appearances and pretty much all of Art Nehf Field’s significant upgrades. He also can count on one hand how many times that umpires have tossed him from a game — two.
Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title
Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.
Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.
Female Engineers climb into HCAC tourney with win at Mount St. Joseph
Led by 16 points from senior Kelsey Ploof, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph 58-51 in its regular-season finale Saturday to clinch the final spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
The Engineers (10-15, 8-10 HCAC) earned the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament and will face Franklin in the quarterfinals Friday at tournament host Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title
Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.
Rose’s Alec Houpt hopes to make fifth Division III tournament appearance
Is Alec Houpt the good-luck charm for Rose-Hulman athletics?
Should his likeness appear on a box of Lucky Charms cereal?
Houpt admits he’s not a star in any sport, yet he’s been a member of four teams that have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. They were men’s soccer as a sophomore (2011) and senior (2013) and men’s basketball as a sophomore (2011-12) and junior (2012-13).
Streaking Engineers return to national poll
Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team has earned a national ranking for the first time this season, reaching the No. 24 spot in the d3hoops.com national top 25 poll released Monday.
Metro Roundup: Rose-Hulman's Montgomery wins HCAC award again
Rose-Hulman’s Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery has been named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Track Athlete of the Week for the third time this season after a historic performance on Friday.
Shaw wins 300th for first-place Engineers
Rose-Hulman’s Jim Shaw became the second men's basketball coach in program history to win 300 career games as the Fightin' Engineers rallied to defeat Bluffton University 61-55 on Saturday afternoon.
Rose-Hulman outscored Bluffton 39-15 in the second half to overcome an 18-point halftime deficit and improve to 19-4 on the season. The Engineers are also 14-2 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play and maintain a one-game lead over Defiance in the conference standings. Rose-Hulman needs one win in its last two games to secure hosting rights for the HCAC Tournament.
Rose’s Jim Shaw nearing 300 victories
Rose-Hulman hits the road for Bluffton and a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball matchup at 3 p.m. today.
Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman's Strickland earns national D-III honor
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been named to the d3hoops.com National Team of the Week for his efforts in last week’s two men’s basketball victories.
Strickland, other Rose seniors play final home game tonight
Rose-Hulman will play host to Hanover in Senior Night men’s basketball at 7:30 tonight in Hulbert Arena.
The Engineers lead Defiance by one game and Hanover by two in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings entering their final regular-season home game.
Metro roundup: Sycamores, UNI to be national ESPNU game
Indiana State’s final men’s home game of the college basketball season has been chosen for ESPNU’s 1 p.m. telecast on March 1. It’s Senior Day for the Sycamores.
Strickland erupts for 41 in Rose-Hulman victory
Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland scored a career-high 41 points to help lift the Engineers past Manchester 85-65 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday afternoon.
Strickland recorded the eighth 40-point game in the history of Rose men’s basketball in the contest. His effort joins Don Ings (four times from 1967-70), Bryan Egli (twice in 1999) and Ed Downey (once in 1963-64) as 40-point games on the list.
Rose Hulman’s Schultheis repeats as Athlete of the Week
Rose-Hulman’s Austin Schultheis has been named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Week for a second consecutive time.
Sole possession of first place in HCAC belongs to Shaw’s Engineers
The Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team took its first lead in more than 23 minutes with 1:23 left on the clock and then shut down the Defiance offense to clinch a 58-54 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Coach Jim Shaw’s Engineers (14-4, 10-2 HCAC) took over sole possession of first place in the conference with the win over the Yellow Jackets (9-3, 14-5), who entered the contest tied with Rose.
Freshmen lead Rose women to HCAC victory
Sparked by breakout performances from a pair of freshmen, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team held on to defeat Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Defiance 69-59 Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Six-foot-2 forward Josie Schmidt was two shy of her career high with a game-high 17 points. She added five rebounds and a block in an 8-for-14 performance from the field. Classmate Abbie Marshall had one of her best games of the season, totaling a career-best 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with seven boards, five assists and four steals.
Rose, Defiance to battle for first place today
Rose-Hulman and Defiance will square off in a battle for first place in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball standings at 3 p.m. today in Hulbert Arena.
Rose-Hulman needs OT to beat Anderson
Rose-Hulman men¹s basketball coach Jim Shaw did not need a reminder that you
can¹t always judge a team by its records. But he got one anyway.
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