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.
Rose-Hulman swimmers flying to nationals
Rose-Hulman swimmers John Craig Huster and Orion Martin have qualified for the Division III national meet in the 100 butterfly
Despite four NCAA Division III titles, Rose-Hulman’s Liz Evans remains as driven as ever
Even though Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans has won four NCAA Division III titles in the women’s high jump, getting motivated is still easy for her.
Ultra-competitive athletes find ways.
Balsbaugh’s late-season scoring giving Rose-Hulman a lift
If someone were to predict before last weekend that Rose-Hulman would capture its second straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in men’s basketball and that senior Brenton Balsbaugh would be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, fans probably would believe the first statement but consider the second as wishful thinking.
Rose-Hulman baseball team kicking off season in Florida
Jeff Jenkins is serious about his baseball.
Rose-Hulman men clinch conference title
Rose-Hulman will host the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament and claimed the league’s regular-season title with a 59-57 win at Hanover College on Saturday.
No. 23 Rose-Hulman takes down No. 22 Transylvania on the road
No. 23 ranked Rose-Hulman claimed a two-game lead in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball standings with a 54-49 victory at No. 22 Transylvania University on Saturday.
Rose-Hulman 18-2 after pulling away from Anderson
Rose-Hulman opened the second half on a 20-3 run to pull away and earn a convincing 71-40 men’s basketball victory at Anderson University on Wednesday night.
Freshman paces Engineer women to HCAC win
The Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team improved to 10-10 for the season and 6-7 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a 52-44 win over Anderson on Wednesday in Hulbert Arena.
Rose men top Franklin
Rose-Hulman improved to 14-2 overall and kept its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference lead at 8-1 with a 58-42 men's basketball victory at Franklin College on Wednesday night.
Rose men run winning steak to 11 games
Anderson arrived in Terre Haute with a 7-6 record and a scoring average of 76.5 points per game.
Anderson holds off rally by Rose women
Rose-Hulman rallied from an 11-point deficit to close within three points late, but Anderson University held on to earn a 64-57 victory in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball Wednesday night inside O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
Rose-Hulman men ranked 26th in Division III
Rose-Hulman’s men’s basketball team is ranked 26th nationally in the d3hoops.com national weekly poll released on Thursday.
Gerken hits game-winner to put Rose-Hulman at 9-1 on season
Making the game-winning shot, with what turned out to be seven-tenths of a second to go, was probably the easy part for Jon Gerken on Saturday afternoon in Hulbert Arena.
Rose women struggle from field in loss to Hanover
In the Rose-Hulman women’s college basketball game, frigid shooting undermined good work the Engineers did in other aspects of the game against Hanover.
The Engineers came out on the wrong end, 55-43.
Efficient Engineers stifle Millikin
The word that probably best describes the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team is efficiency.
Rose-Hulman women's basketball regains Clabber Girl Trophy
Rose-Hulman reclaimed the Clabber Girl Trophy for the first time since 2009 with an 80-74 women’s basketball victory over Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College on Tuesday night in Hulbert Arena.
Balanced Rose tops Fontbonne
Senior forward Nate Gissentanner came off the bench to deliver 14 points for balanced Rose-Hulman in a 72-54 men’s basketball victory over Fontbonne University on Wednesday night in Hulbert Arena.
Rose-Hulman men's basketball preview: Engineers looking to follow up last year’s success
It’s pretty safe to say that expectations for the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team have not been this high since the late 1990s when the Engineers reached the NCAA Division III tournament three times within a four-year period.
Rose-Hulman women's basketball preview: Engineers continuing to improve
The Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team didn’t dominate many opponents last season when it ended up with records of 9-18 overall and 6-12 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Earlham tragedy leads to Rose football cancellation
Little did Rose-Hulman’s football players and coaches know, their 42-8 home victory over Anderson University last Saturday turned out to be their final game of the season.
This weekend's Rose-Hulman vs. Earlham football game canceled
Due to Friday's tragic events involving three Earlham College students, the football game between Earlham and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has been canceled.
Anderson squeaks past Rose-Hulman
Anderson University scored in the 11th minute and held off a Rose-Hulman charge to earn a 1-0 men's soccer victory in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference semifinal match on Wednesday night at the Engineer Intramural Field.
Rose swimmers near top because of vets, youth
Rose-Hulman swimming depth is at an all-time high, putting the Engineers at No. 15 in the NCAA Division III national rankings.
A bigger taste?
On the night of Oct. 14, Rose-Hulman basketball fans were treated to something described by a couple of men’s players as “spectacular” and “epic” when they all jammed into Hulbert Arena for the insititute’s first “Midnight Madness” to tip off a season.
The memorable site wasn’t a 360-degree dunk or a no-look, behind-the-back pass.
It was Rose men’s coach Jim Shaw performing the “Bernie Dance,” based on the deceased character from the 1989 movie “Weekend At Bernie’s.”
“For a second, I thought he was having a seizure,” senior starting guard Austin Weatherford said with a straight face later.
Rose women picked for 6th
The Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season, according to a preseason poll of league coaches released Tuesday.
Hanover and Franklin were selected for first and second respectively, with just two poll points separating the two squads.
Rose-Hulman no match for Franklin
Franklin showcased its No. 23 NCAA Division III ranking from d3football.com in a 56-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football Saturday.
Rose blanks Woods 3-0 in women’s soccer
Rose-Hulman women’s soccer coach Amy Helliwell is riding a youth movement to what she hopes could produce a strong turnaround in this 2012 season.
It has so far.
Led by freshman Hayley Gilliam, a Zionsville native, the Engineers improved to 5-4-1 for the season with a dominant 3-0 victory against cross-county rival St. Mary-of-the-Woods College on Wednesday at Jim Rendel Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Engineers dominate HCAC honors
Rose-Hulman Institute student-athletes earned three Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week awards, in results released by the league office on Monday.
West Vigo graduate John Burt was named HCAC Defensive Player of the Week and Eric Schaible the Special Teams Player of the Week in football, and B.J. Thompson earned Player of the Week honors in men’s soccer.
Snyder throws for two early TDs in Rose-Hulman victory
Rose-Hulman scored 33 points in the middle two quarters and held off a Defiance rally to earn a 33-20 victory in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football opener for both schools Saturday.
Rose’s record setter
Kyle Kovach got off to a great start in Rose-Hulman’s football season opener Saturday night in what turned out to be a heartbreaking 29-28 home loss to Kalamazoo College at Cook Stadium.
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