Gene's Blog: Gators, Toms share fun sports fact
July 17, 2012
Tommy Hannon has helped the Tommie men's basketball program surpass 100 wins since 2008-09. (Mike Ekern file photo)
Here’s one more impressive factoid for the Tommies’ Points of Pride files:
Out of nearly 1,000 NCAA institutions at all levels, only two have combined for 100-plus men’s basketball victories and 40-plus football wins over the last four seasons. The two who displayed this exceptional consistency are the Florida Gators… and your St. Thomas Tommies.
Florida is 101-43 in men’s basketball and 41-13 in football over the last four seasons. That includes a football national championship by its 2008 team, led by Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin.
Since 2008, St. Thomas men’s basketball is 105-15, led by 30-win seasons in 2008-09 and 2010-11. Tommie football is 43-7, with three consecutive double-digit win totals. UST's total win percentage for those teams is .870.
St. Thomas claimed an NCAA men’s hoops title in 2011 and has five NCAA quarterfinal playoff trips in men's basketball and football. In addition, the Tommies have won six of a possible eight MIAC titles in those sports.
St. Thomas has been especially tough to beat on campus with a 66-5 record in those two sports since 2008.
Ohio State would have joined the 40/100 club but vacated its 12 football victories in 2010 due to rules violations. Michigan State and Wisconsin came close. The Spartans went 107-39 in basketball and 37-16 in football. The Badgers went 39-14 in football and 95-41 in men's basketball.
Researching the numbers revealed that few colleges are consistently strong in both sports. Boise State is 50-3 in football since 2008 but just 69-60 in men’s basketball. Duke football (15-32) pales compared to its men’s basketball record (124-24). Ditto for the Kansas Jayhawks -– 127-21 in men’s basketball but only 18-29 in football. It’s even a bigger disparity at New Mexico, which has gone 102-37 in men’s basketball but a mere 7-41 in football since 2008.
In Division III, UW-Whitewater won NCAA championships in both sports last season. The Warhawks are 57-2 in football and 92-25 in men’s basketball over that four-year span. Mount Union is 57-3 in football but only 44-60 in men’s hoops.
Golf Eager for 2012-13
The Tommie men’s golf team made program history in 2011-12. Coach Scott Proshek’s team won the school’s first MIAC championship in 31 seasons and reached its first trip to the NCAA Championships. UST missed by one team spot from advancing from the 36-hole cut at nationals.
Proshek noted that St. Thomas has been invited to two high-profile national tournaments this fall and will play in one. It has accepted an invitation to the mid-October Golf Week Preview in Sandestin, Fla. The 54-hole event will be the site of the May 2013 NCAA Division III Championships.
Meanwhile, five Tommie players and a few recruits are playing this week in two elite Minnesota tournaments. All-American Alex Kapraun joins Pat Larkin and Brian Parkhurst in this week’s 54-hole MGA state amateur in Hastings. Kapraun, Michael Mortenson and Bennett Schroeder will play next weekend in the Minnesota PGA State Open at Bunker Hills in Coon Rapids.
“Playing a tougher schedule will improve our team,” Proshek said. “We’re seeing more player success and commitment during this summer than ever before. Our commitment and talent level are improving.”
After its 16th-place finish out of 41 teams last May at nationals, the Tommies have a shot at a top-25 Division III ranking this fall.