"One of the reasons we scheduled Kent State was because of our respect for their basketball program. I told my team for the last two days that we were not playing a basketball team, we were playing a basketball program and a culture that is accustomed to winning..."
Mike Krzyzewski, 2006
As of this weekend, a total of six college basketball teams have won twenty-plus games in ten consecutive seasons, with one more on the cusp. Duke already has done it. So have the Florida Gators, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Kansas Jayhawks and the Creighton Bluejays.
So have the Kent State Golden Flashes, who have clinched another Mid-American Conference regular-season title and will be looking for their fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament this month.
I grew up in Kent, in a house three blocks off campus. I could be out the front door and in a Campus Loop bus in five minutes flat. Growing up I watched a lot of games at Memorial Gym back when there were no end-zone seats. I remember watching guys like Eric Glenn, Bill Toole, Jim Mangapora, and David Barnwell. I attended Kent in the mid-90s; I had a math class in Franklin Hall with D.J. Bosse.
In those days, NCAA bids were for other teams, back when Central Michigan had Dan Majerle, Eastern had Grant Long, Marcus Kennedy, and Lil' Earl Boykins, Ohio had Dave Jamerson and Gary Trent, Ball State had Parris McCurdy and Curtis Kidd, and we had, well... a bunch of guys. Kent was the home of the 13-14 season and the quick MAC Tournament exit. NCAA Tournament? Please. The Flashes had never even won an NIT game.
I never imagined one day Kent State would have this kind of program. I can't even say it's been a dream come true- because I never even dreamt of this.
Some of my memories of ten magical years:
How about another ten years just like it?