In March 1980 Western Texas College becomes just the third men’s basketball team (1962 Coffeyville CC, Kan. and 1972 Vincennes Univ., Ind.) in NJCAA history to finish a season undefeated (37-0). The Westerners were guided to the national title under the leadership of head coach Nolan Richardson and the play of forward Paul Pressey.
Following the 1980 season, Richardson took the head coaching position at the University of Tulsa. Pressey, and three other players from the 1980 Western Texas team, followed Richardson to Tulsa and won the 1981 NIT Championship and made it to the second round of the 1982 NCAA Tournament.
Richardson became the head coach at the University of Arkansas in 1985. In 17 seasons with the Razorbacks he put together a record of 417-187, including 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament, four Sweet 16 appearances, four Elite Eight appearances, two Final Four appearances, and the first ever NCAA Basketball Championship for Arkansas in 1994.
Richardson is the only coach in history to win an NJCAA Championship, NIT Championship and NCAA Championship.
Pressy was selected 21st overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1982 NBA Draft and played 11 years in the NBA. He was voted to the NBA All-Defense team in 1985, 86 and 87 and is currently an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavilers.
Photo: Nolan Richardson accepts the Coach of the Tournament Award after leading Western Texas College to the NJCAA national title in 1980. NJCAA Photo.
After playing two seasons at Roane State Community College (Tenn.), Bernadette Mattox follows head coach Andy Landers to the University of Georgia. Mattox helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to the 1981 Women’s NIT Championship and became the first female All-American at Georgia.
After her playing career she became an assistant coach under Landers and in 1990 became the first female to serve as a Division I assistant for a men’s team, serving four years under Rick Pitino at Kentucky. In 1995, Mattox became the first African American to coach the Kentucky women’s basketball program, guiding the Wildcats for eight seasons. She spent the last 10 years as an assistant coach for the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia Athletics.
The 1982 NJCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament was highlighted by the phenomenal play of Anthony “Spud” Webb of Midland College (Texas). Measuring just 5-feet and 6-inches, Webb’s play led the Chaps to the national title by scoring 94 points in the tournament. In the title game versus top-ranked Miami-Dade (Fla.) he led all scorers with 36 points. Rightfully named to the All-Tournament team, he was also the recipient of the Bud Obee Outstanding Small Player Award. A year later he earned NJCAA All-American honors.
After Midland, Webb starred at North Carolina State University under Jim Valvano and was drafted in the fourth round of the 1985 NBA Draft. He rose to international fame after he won the 1986 slam dunk contest. He played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic. He is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Texas Legends in the NBA Developmental League.
Photo courtesy of Midland College (Texas).
Former Coffeyville Community College (Kan.) and 1980 NJCAA All-American running back Mike Rozier becomes the second former NJCAA player to win the Heisman Trophy (Roger Thomas Staubach, 1963) in December 1983 after rushing for 2,148 yards and 29 touchdowns for the University of Nebraska. His memorable ’83 season saw him average more than 179 yards a game, while rushing for over 100 yards in 11 straight games. He would later play 10 seasons of professional football in the USFL and NFL. Rozier led Coffeyville to a 9-0 record in 1980 while rushing for 1,316 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Also, the NJCAA expands from 22 to 24 regions at the start of the 1982-83 academic year.
Photos courtesy of Coffeyville CC (Kan.) and University of Nebraska Sports Information.
Indian River Community College (Fla.) captures its 10th straight national championship in men’s swimming & diving. Their streak was unheard of at the time in any sport in the NJCAA and has continued for 38 consecutive years (1975-present). Indian River’s streak is currently the longest unbroken championship winning streak in the United States in any sport at the collegiate level. The women’s swimming & diving program at Indian River has won 31-straight national titles (1983-present).
Photo courtesy of Indian River State College (Fla.).
Oscar “Swede” Erickson, longtime athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Casper College (Wyo.), is elected president and approves the move of the NJCAA’s national office from Hutchinson (Kan.), its base for 16 years, to its present home of Colorado Springs (Colo.). The move was due to several reasons, but most specific to work more closely with other national sports organizations as Colorado Springs was, and still is, the home of the United States Olympic Committee and many national sport governing bodies.
The move of its national office had many in Hutchinson fearing that the NJCAA was also going to move the location of the men’s basketball national tournament. Executive Director George E. Killian squashed the rumors with the following quote that appeared in the Hutchinson News in July 1985…...“For the 1,000th time, there are NO plans now or forever of moving the basketball tournament. One, we don’t know where else to go and two, we won’t be bought off. Right now, we’re trying to figure out how to come up with more tickets for fans to buy. Everything is sold out for the 1986 tournament….The move has nothing to do with basketball.”
Photo: Pikes Peak provides a beautiful backdrop for the NJCAA"s national headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Head coach Ronnie Arrow leads San Jacinto College (Texas) to the 1986 NJCAA men’s basketball national championship with a perfect 37-0 record, which marks the third national title for SJC in four years. Arrow becomes only the second coach in NJCAA history to win three NJCAA championships (Alan Bradfield, Vincennes Univ. was the first). Arrow moved on to become the head coach at the University of South Alabama in 1987 and posted a 114-93 record over eight seasons. He was the first head coach at upstart Texas A&M Corpus Christi and guided that program from 1999-07 and led the Islanders to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in '07. He is currently in his second stint as head coach at South Alabama.
The 1986 men’s basketball tournament was also highlighted by the play of Moberly Junior College’s (Mo.) Mitch Richmond who earned All-Tournament honors. Richmond would go on to star at Kansas State University and was the 1989 NBA Rookie of the Year. Richmond played 14 seasons in the NBA, averaging 21 points per game and earning All-Star honors six times. He was a member of the 1988 (bronze) and ’96 (gold) USA Basketball teams.
Also in 1986 the NJCAA launched a Division II in men’s basketball, thus splitting the sport into two groups. The creation of Division II was in response to the growing number of member colleges that sponsored the sport but did not have the financial means to offer full athletic scholarships. Rules pertaining to Division II teams, then as today, limits scholarships to just tuition and fees and cannot include room, board, meals, etc.
Photo: Ronnie Arrow led San Jacinto to three NJCAA Championships in men's basketball (1983, '84, '86). NJCAA Photo.
Approved at the previous annual meeting of the NJCAA Board of the Directors, the organization begins the 1987-88 academic year with a major change in its governance structure. Beginning August 1, 1987, the board expanded to include four college presidents selected by the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. The first four ‘presidential representatives’ were Dr. Charles Green of Rio Salado Community College (Ariz.), Dr. Harry Miller of Paul Smith’s College (N.Y.), Dr. Stephen Korcheck of Manatee Community College (Fla.) and Dr. John Swalec of Waubonsee Community College (Ill.).
Since 1987 the NJCAA has increased the presence of member college presidents on its Board of Directors to six, which represent six geographic areas of the NJCAA. Today’s presidential reps are elected by their presidential peers within their respective geographic boundaries.
The NJCAA Board of Directors votes to approve semester-based eligibility standards for student-athletes. In years prior, NJCAA student-athletes were required to maintain full-time enrollment (12 or more credits) in each semester. Then - prior to their second season of participation in the NJCAA - student-athletes were required to have successfully completed 24 or more credit hours of course work. The move is significant as the NJCAA was the first national collegiate sports organization to implement semester-based eligibility standards.
First Installment of the NJCAA historic timeline: 1937-62
Second Installment of the NJCAA historic timeline: 1963-87
Third Installment of the NJCAA historic timeline: 1988-2013
Illinois Central College shortstop Jim Thome earns NJCAA All-America honors. The Cleveland Indians take notice of Thome - who at the time was 6 feet 1 inch and weighed 180 pounds - select him in the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft. Thome not only filled out, 6 feet 3 inches, 225 pounds, but also impressed club officials as he moved through the minor leagues. He made his MLB debut in August 1991. Thome went on to be a five-time MLB All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award in 1996. He is one of just eight players in MLB history to hit 600 home runs and is currently seventh on the all-time home run list (612) and 24th all-time in RBIs (1,699). Photo courtesy of Illinois Central College.