Tigers Honored By Governor For Postseason Performance
Springfield, Ohio — Two months after reaching an NCAA Tournament Elite 8 for the 10th time in program history, the Wittenberg University men's basketball team was honored by Ohio Governor John Kasich in a ceremony at his residence in Columbus.
The event was held to recognize eight Ohio college basketball teams that reached the Sweet 16 round or better in March 2012 – men's Division I teams representing Ohio State University, Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati and Ohio University; the women's Division II team from Ashland University; the women's Division III team from Mount Union University; and men's Division III teams from Wittenberg and the College of Wooster. Student-athletes and coaches from each of the eight teams were honored during the ceremony, which included a reception and remarks by the governor about each of the teams and their accomplishments.
"We were really impressed with how knowledgeable Gov. Kasich was about each of the programs in attendance," said Wittenberg Head Coach Bill Brown, who earned his sixth career NCAC Coach of the Year award, including five as Wittenberg's head coach, after the 2011-12 season. "The entire experience was even more personal that we had maybe anticipated. The governor was very encouraging to all the student-athletes as to the difference they can potentially make in their respective worlds."
The Tigers reached the national quarterfinals the hard way after earning an at-large berth into the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament, hitting the road to defeat Birmingham-Southern College and Carroll College (Wisc.) in the first two rounds at Transylvania University and then beating North Central College (Ill.) in a Round of 16 game hosted by Wooster. Wittenberg's dreams of an NCAA Division III-record eighth berth in the Final Four ended in Elite 8 with a 70-49 loss to Illinois Wesleyan, also at Wooster.
Wittenberg ended the season ranked 11th in the d3hoops.com national poll after making its NCAA Division III-record 26th appearance in the national tournament, and its second in a row. Wittenberg also made seven appearances in the NCAA College Division between 1959 and 1974, giving the Tigers 33 all-time national tournament berths.
The Tigers made their 11th NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in Head Coach Bill Brown's 18 seasons at the helm. His teams have won seven NCAC regular season titles and four NCAC Tournament championships, in addition to reaching a pair of NCAA Division III Tournament semifinals (1994 and 2006) and the 2006 national championship game.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Erin Pence