Tulsa Golden Hurricane men's basketball

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane men's basketball team represents the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The team participates in the American Athletic Conference. The Golden Hurricane are led by head coach Eric Konkol, hired from Louisiana Tech on March 21, 2022 to replace Frank Haith who had resigned.[2]

Tulsa Golden Hurricane
2023–24 Tulsa Golden Hurricane men's basketball team
UniversityUniversity of Tulsa
Head coachEric Konkol (2nd season)
ConferenceThe American
LocationTulsa, Oklahoma
ArenaReynolds Center
(Capacity: 8,355)
NicknameGolden Hurricane
Student sectionThe Storm Front
ColorsOld gold, royal blue, and crimson[1]
Home jersey
Team colours
Away jersey
Team colours
Alternate jersey
Team colours
NCAA tournament Elite Eight
NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen
1955, 1994, 1995, 2000
NCAA tournament appearances
1955, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2014, 2016
Conference tournament champions
1982, 1984, 1986, 1996, 2003, 2014
Conference regular season champions
MVC: 1955, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1995
WAC: 1999, 2000, 2002
C-USA: 2014
AAC: 2020

The team has long been successful, especially since the hiring of Nolan Richardson in 1980. Many big-name coaches previously worked at Tulsa, like University of Kansas coach Bill Self and Minnesota coach Tubby Smith. The Hurricane have been to the NCAA tournament 14 times in their history. In addition, they have won two National Invitation Tournaments, in 1981 and 2001, and one CBI tournament. In 2005, Street & Smith's named the University of Tulsa as the 59th best college basketball program of all time.[3]

History edit

Clarence Iba, brother of Henry Iba, helped to springboard Tulsa to success when named the head coach in 1949. He coached at the school for 11 years, the longest tenure of any Tulsa coach, and is the second all-time winningest coach at the school with 137 wins in his 11 seasons.

Nolan Richardson is credited with bringing the Tulsa program to national prominence when hired in 1980, and he led the school to the 1981 NIT Championship and had a .763 winning percentage at the school. He became the first coach in NCAA history to win 50 games in his first two seasons.[4]

In the 1990s and 2000s, a succession of Tulsa coaches went on to big-name programs across the country, including Tubby Smith, Buzz Peterson, and Bill Self. The team remained successful throughout the string of coaches.

Doug Wojcik, coach from 2005 to 2012, is the all-time winningest coach at the school with 140 wins.

Notable assistants in the program's history have included Billy Gillispie, Flip Saunders, Kevin O’Neill, Mike Anderson, Ron Jirsa and Jerry Wainwright.

Notable Players edit

Tulsa has had a series of great players at the program, many of whom have gone on to play in the NBA. Successful players to never make it to the NBA include Gary Collier, the 1994 MVC player of the year, Michael Scott, the 1989 and 1991 MVC defensive player of the year, and Willie Biles who led the MVC in scoring in both the 1972–73 and 1973–1974 seasons.[5]

Among those who did make it to the NBA, James King, who came back to coach the program after his NBA career, and Bingo Smith had the greatest success. King was selected to the 1968 NBA All-Star Game, and Smith scored more than 10,000 points in his career, having his number retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Steve Bracey (1970–72) was a member of the 1974–75 Golden State Warriors NBA Championship team.

Golden Hurricane players in the NBA edit

Name Years Played Teams
Steve Bracey 1973-1975 ATL and GSW
Jordan Clarkson 2015-2023 LAL, CLE, and UTA
Joe Cooper 1982-1985 NJN, LAL, WSB, SD, and SEA
Al Cueto 1970-1971 MMF and MMP
Julian Hammond 1968-1972 DNR
Steve Harris 1986-1990 HOU, GSW, DET, and LAC
Shaquille Harrison 2018-2022 PHX, CHI, UTA, DEN, and BKN
DaQuan Jeffries 2020-2022 SAC, HOU, MEM
Neil Johnson 1967-1973 NYK, PHX, and VIR
Jerome Jordan 2012-2015 NYK and BKN
Jim King 1964-1973 LAL, SFW, CIN, and CHI
Will Magnay 2021 NOP
Carlton McKinney 1990-1992 LAC and NYK
Tracy Moore 1992-1997 DAL, DET, and HOU
Paul Pressey 1983-1993 MIL, SAS, and GSW
Michael Ruffin 2000-2009 CHI, PHI, UTA, WAS, MIL, and POR
Shea Seals 1998 LAL
Bingo Smith 1970-1980 SDR, CLE, and SDC
Ken Smith 1976 SAS
Ben Uzoh 2011-2012 NJN, CLE, and TOR

History edit

Tulsa's basketball program was founded by W.R. Bergen in 1907, when the school still went by the name Kendall College. It went 1–1 in its first season. Following the 1908–09 season, the team went on hiatus for several years before restarting for the 1913–14 season under Harvey Allen.[6] In 1917, the school played its first games outside the state of Oklahoma, but did not see great success until Francis Schmidt became head coach in 1918; Schmidt led the school to 16 consecutive victories in the 1919–20 season, the school record.[7] The team hit hard times and achieved occasional modest success until the arrival of Clarence Iba in 1949. Of special note is the 1942–1943 winless squad under Mike Milligan, whose team went 0–10.[8]

Under Iba, Tulsa reached the post-season for the first time in the 1953 NIT.[9] (In March 1921, Tulsa had been invited to the National A.A.U. tournament after an 18–1 season which widely regarded them as Oklahoma champions).[10] In 1955, Iba led the Golden Hurricane to their first Missouri Valley Conference title and NCAA tournament appearance. Joe Swank succeeded Iba in 1960. It was under Swank that the color barrier was broken in the Tulsa basketball program.[11] Swank had some winning seasons, but the program would be without real success until the arrival of Nolan Richardson.

Nolan Richardson's hiring helped to usher in a new era of success at Tulsa that has remained fairly consistent since then. He led the team the NIT Championship in the 1980–1981 season, his first at the school. Richardson also won two MVC regular season and two MVC tournament championships in his five-season tenure. His flamboyant personality made him extremely popular; his teams adopted McFadden & Whitehead's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" as their theme song during the Richardson years.[12] Richardson was succeeded by J. D. Barnett, who continued the team's success, winning one tournament and one regular season championship and finishing lower than third in the conference only once. Barnett was fired, however, due to the significant increase in expectations at Tulsa following Richardson's success.[13]

Barnett was succeeded by Tubby Smith, who went on to coach at Kentucky, Georgia and Minnesota. Smith spent four seasons at Tulsa, winning two MVC championships and leading them past the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time, to the Sweet Sixteen in both the 1993–1994 and 1994–1995 seasons. A succession of high-profile coaches came through following Smith's departure for Georgia. Steve Robinson led the team to consecutive NCAA appearances before departing for Florida State. Bill Self succeeded Robinson for three seasons, winning two WAC titles in the 1998–99 and 1999–00 seasons and leading Tulsa to its best record ever, a 32–5 record in the 1999–00 season. Tulsa advanced to the Elite Eight in the 2000 NCAA tournament as a #7 seed.[14] Self departed for Illinois and was succeeded by Buzz Peterson. Peterson led the team to the 2001 NIT Championship and promptly took the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee.

Following Peterson's departure, John Phillips led the team to NCAA tournaments in his first two seasons and won a WAC title. However, he passed on local high school star Caleb Green, a decision that came back to haunt him when Green signed with ORU.[15] Phillips resigned on Christmas Day, 2004. The team finished that season 9th in the WAC, TU's worst ever conference finish.[16] Doug Wojcik was hired before the 2005–06 season to revive the program. He led the team to 20 wins in both his second, third, and fourth seasons and the 2008 College Basketball Invitational championship, led by tournament MVP Jerome Jordan. Wojcik's hiring also coincided with Tulsa's decision to join Conference USA.

Much has been made of Tulsa's ability to hire good coaching candidates but their inability to retain them like Gonzaga has been able to. Since Barnett's firing after the 1990–1991 season, only one coach has stayed at the program more than four seasons and all but one have departed for larger programs. Barnett has speculated that finances may be a reason when larger programs come calling, but he also "[does]n't know what the real philosophical reasons are."[17]

Awards edit

Coach of the Year

  • Clarence Iba – 1955 – MVC
  • Joe Swank – 1967 – MVC
  • Ken Hayes – 1969, 1973 – MVC
  • Nolan Richardson – 1981, 1985 – MVC
  • J. D. Barnett – 1987 – MVC
  • Tubby Smith – 1994, 1995 – MVC
  • Bill Self – 2000 – WAC
  • Danny Manning – 2014 – C-USA
  • Frank Haith – 2020 – AAC

Player of the Year

  • Bingo Smith – 1969 – MVC
  • Paul Pressey – 1982 – MVC
  • Gary Collier – 1994 – MVC

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Michael Scott – 1989, 1991 – MVC
  • Lou Dawkins – 1994 – MVC

Freshman of the Year

  • Shea Seals – 1994 – MVC
  • Greg Harrington – 1999 – WAC[18]

Retired numbers edit

Seven numbers have been retired by the University of Tulsa basketball program.[19] The most recent was that of Bingo Smith on February 22, 2020.[20]

Tulsa Golden Hurricane retired numbers
No. Player Tenure No. ret. Ref.
12 Willie Biles 1971–1974 2010 [21]
20 Steve Harris 1981–1985 [22]
21 Shea Seals 1993–1997 1997 [23]
24 Jim King 1960–1963 2000 [24]
25 Paul Pressey 1980–1982 [24]
30 Bob Patterson 1951–1955 [24]
32 Bingo Smith 1966–1969 2020 [20]

Post-season edit

The Golden Hurricane have made 16 NCAA tournament appearances (12–16 combined record), 10 NIT appearances (12–8 combined record), and two CBI appearances (5–2 combined record). They are twice NIT champions, in 1981 and 2001, and were champions of the CBI in 2008.

NCAA tournament results edit

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1955 Sweet Sixteen
Regional third place game
L 59–69
W 68–67
1982 Second round Houston L 74–78
1984 Second round Louisville L 67–69
1985 First round UTEP L 75–79
1986 First round Navy L 68–87
1987 First round Oklahoma L 69–74
1994 First round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Oklahoma State
W 112–102
W 82–80
L 84–108
1995 First round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Old Dominion
W 68–62
W 64–52
L 51–76
1996 First round Louisville L 80–82OT
1997 First round
Second Round
Boston U
W 81–52
L 59–65
1999 First round
Second Round
College of Charleston
W 62–53
L 56–97
2000 First round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Miami (FL)
North Carolina
W 89–62
W 69–61
W 80–71
L 55–59
2002 First round
Second Round
W 71–69
L 82–87
2003 First round
Second Round
W 84–71
L 60–61
2014 Second round UCLA L 59–76
2016 First Four Michigan L 62–67

NIT Results edit

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1953 First round Duquesne L 69–88
1967 First round Marquette L 60–64
1969 First round Saint Peter's L 71–74
1981 First round
Second Round
Championship game
Texas-Pan American
South Alabama
West Virginia
W 81–71
W 76–72
W 69–68
W 89–87
W 86–84
1990 First round Oklahoma State L 74–83
1991 First round Oklahoma L 86–111
2001 First round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
UC Irvine
W 75–71
W 73–70
W 77–75
W 72–64
W 79–66
2009 First round
Second Round
W 68–59
L 55–74
2010 First round Kent State L 74–75
2015 First round
Second Round
William & Mary
Murray State
W 70–67
L 62–83

CBI results edit

The Golden Hurricane were champions of the 2008 College Basketball Invitational, which was the inaugural tournament.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
2008 First round
Finals Game 1
Finals Game 2
Finals Game 3
Miami (OH)
W 61–45
W 69–60
W 73–69
W 73–68
L 74–83
W 70–64
2013 First round Wright State L 52–72

Conferences edit

Tulsa has been a member of a variety of conferences over its history. With Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference was formed for the 1914–1915 season. Tulsa would participate in this conference for fifteen years, with occasional breaks.[6] In 1929, the program co-founded the Big Four Conference, which lasted five seasons.[7]

The University of Tulsa joined the Missouri Valley Conference in 1934. Tulsa remained a member of the MVC until 1996, when it joined the Western Athletic Conference for the 1996–1997 season. While a member of the WAC, it was at various times in both the Mountain and Pacific Division. Tulsa joined Conference USA with the 2005–2006 season.[25] For the 2014–2015 season, the Golden Hurricane joined the American Athletic Conference.[26]

Arenas edit

The Reynolds Center

Tulsa currently plays in the Reynolds Center, an 8,355-capacity on-campus arena adjacent to Skelly Field at H. A. Chapman Stadium. The Reynolds Center was completed in 1998. The student section is known as the Storm Front, and is known in the current year for members of the TU Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi, who carry shields and wear various animal masks during opponent free throws.[27] Efforts are made by the coaching staff through frequent e-mails to encourage attendance and creativity from the student body. Previously, the Golden Hurricane had played off-campus, using the Tulsa Convention Center from the mid 1976–77 season on. Before the Convention Center, the team played at the Expo Square Pavilion from the 1947–48 season. In the early years of the program, the team played at various area high schools and in smaller on-campus gymnasiums.

Rivals edit

Tulsa's primary basketball rival is Wichita State University, but that rivalry had faded somewhat between the time Tulsa left the Missouri Valley Conference after the 1995 season and both teams having joined the American Athletic Conference by 2017, when it was renewed indefinitely by both schools. Tulsa also has a mild rivalry with Oral Roberts University, which is located in southern Tulsa. The teams began play in 1974 and has largely been one sided, however Oral Roberts has tightened the gap quite a bit in recent years, the two teams currently play annually. A traveling trophy, the Mayor's Cup, is exchanged between the winner of the game. Tulsa hired Bill Self away from Oral Roberts in 1997.

While in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Golden Hurricane had an extensive rivalry with Wichita State[7] Creighton, Southern Illinois and Bradley. The team has also had longstanding competitions against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas. The rivalry with Arkansas was enhanced with their hiring of Nolan Richardson away from Tulsa in 1985. Tulsa had an intense rivalry with Fresno State and Hawaii while a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Southern Methodist remains a fairly interesting rivalry, given that the two schools sometimes recruit similar players and that former Southern Methodist coach Matt Doherty was considered a front-runner for the Tulsa job prior to Doug Wojcik taking the helm; likewise, Doug Wojcik once interviewed for the Southern Methodist job. The current SMU coach, Larry Brown, was the college coach of former Tulsa coach Danny Manning who left to become the head coach at Wake Forest in 2014.

Tulsa moved into the American Athletic Conference in July 2014, restoring natural rivalries with AAC members Memphis, Cincinnati, SMU and Houston.[25]

References edit

  1. ^ Tulsa Brand Guide (PDF). February 1, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  2. ^ "Eric Konkol accepts head coach job at University of Tulsa". Crescent City Sports. 2022-03-21. Retrieved 2022-04-17.
  3. ^ University of Tulsa men’s basketball media guide, pg. 139
  4. ^ "Coaching Great Nolan Richardson and Three Former Athletes to Receive Induction into TU Athletic Hall of Fame." Archived April 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Best of Tulsa. Oct. 8, 2006.
  5. ^ University of Tulsa Media Guide, pp. 24, 26
  6. ^ a b Bonham, Chad. Golden Hurricane Basketball at the University of Tulsa. Chicago: Arcadia, 2004, pg. 9
  7. ^ a b c Bonham, pg. 10
  8. ^ Bonham, pg. 19
  9. ^ Bonham, pg. 22
  10. ^ Logsdon, Guy Williams. The University of Tulsa: A History from 1882 to 1972, Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Tulsa, 1975, pp. 158, 262.
  11. ^ Bonham, pg. 35
  12. ^ "Tubbs happy for Richardson: Q&A with Nolan Richardson." Tulsa World, Oct. 13, 2006.
  13. ^ Bonham, pg. 68
  14. ^ Bill Haisten, "When TU was Elite: Ten years ago, Bill Self coached the Golden Hurricane to a 32–5 record and within one game of advancing to the Final Four", Tulsa World, March 26, 2010.
  15. ^ Brown, Mike. ORU seniors hoping for a Tulsa sweep, Tulsa World, November 28, 2006.
  16. ^ University of Tulsa Media Guide, pg. 153
  17. ^ Tiberii, Jeff. “Tulsa produces, can’t keep best coaches.” Archived December 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Daily Orange, January 26, 2005.
  18. ^ University of Tulsa Media Guide, pg. 24
  19. ^ "2012–13 Tulsa Golden Hurricane men's basketball media guide, page 90" (PDF). Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Bobby "Bingo" Smith's Jersey Retired by Alma Mater". nba.com. January 15, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Tulsa to Retire Willie Biles Jersey During Legends Weekend at tulsahurricane.com, 2 Jun 2010
  22. ^ Former Tulsa Basketball star Steve Harris passed away Monday by John Moss, 22 Feb 2016
  23. ^ Tulsa to Retire Seals' No. 21, 22 Feb 1997 at The Oklahoman
  24. ^ a b c KING'S NO. 24 TO BE RETIRED, 14 Feb 2000
  25. ^ a b ”Six Schools Join Conference USA”. NCAASports.com, July 5, 2005.
  26. ^ Haisten, Bill (July 1, 2014). "TU's American Athletic Conference membership takes effect Tuesday". Tulsa World. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  27. ^ https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CUD_nv2XAAAgNVN.jpg:large[bare URL image file]

External links edit