Drake Bulldogs men's basketball

Drake Bulldogs
2016–17 Drake Bulldogs men's basketball team
University Drake University
Conference Missouri Valley Conference
Location Des Moines, IA
Head coach Ray Giacoletti (4th year)
Arena Knapp Center
(Capacity: 7,002)
Nickname Bulldogs
Colors Blue and White[1]
NCAA Tournament Final Four
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1969, 1970, 1971
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1969, 1970, 1971
NCAA Tournament appearances
1969, 1970, 1971, 2008
Conference tournament champions
Conference regular season champions
1935, 1936, 1939, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1971, 2008

The Drake Bulldogs men's basketball team represents Drake University, located in Des Moines, Iowa, in NCAA Division I basketball competition. The program is best known for making the 1969 Final Four.


The early years (1906–1959)

The first season Drake fielded a men's basketball was 1906-07. The Bulldogs finished with a 2-1 record as an independent. The next year during the 1907-08 season they were charter members of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Drake would dominate the 1930s winning three conference titles in the decade (1934–35, 1935–36, and 1938–39). The Bulldogs unfortunately did not qualify for a post-season tournament by winning the conference title as no post-season tournaments were held during the 1934-35 season. The following 1935-36 season Drake was invited to the District Olympic Tournament post-season tournament (defeating North Dakota 49-46, falling to Minnesota 36-19). The Bulldogs participated in the National Intercollegiate Tournament in 1937-38 (losing to Murray State 47-40) and 1938–39 (losing to Oklahoma State 28-15).

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Drake would secure eight winning seasons. There was no Missouri Valley Conference play during the 1943-44 and 1944-45 seasons because of World War II. This was in part because less MVC schools were playing basketball during that time, Drake was though. In 1951 Drake withdrew as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, along with Bradley as a result of the lack of action taken by the Missouri Valley Conference against Oklahoma A&M in the Johnny Bright Incident. Drake would not compete in the Missouri Valley Conference again until the 1956-57 season.

Glory years (1960–1986)

The 1960s through mid-1980s saw some of the all-time great Drake teams. The Bulldogs were in the national rankings on a regular basis and the Missouri Valley Conference was one of the premier conferences in men's basketball. Drake had fourteen winning seasons during this time.

Drake shared the 1963-64 conference title with Louisville and received an invitation to the National Invitational Tournament. In the tournament, Drake defeated Pittsburgh 87-82 in the first round and lost to tournament runner-up New Mexico 65-60 in the second round.

The 1968-69 season was by far the most accomplished in Drake history. The Bulldogs won the Missouri Valley Conference outright and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, finishing third. During the tournament, Drake received a bye in the first round, defeated Texas A&M 81-63 in the Sweet Sixteen and Colorado State in the Elite Eight 84-77. The Bulldogs would fall to eventual champion UCLA 85-82 in the national semifinal before routing North Carolina 104-84 in the third place game.

Drake continued its magical run during the 1969-70 season once again capturing the Missouri Valley Conference title. The Bulldogs would qualify for their second straight NCAA Tournament, earning a bye in the first round. In the Sweet Sixteen, Drake defeated Houston 92-87, but fell to New Mexico 87-78 in the Elite Eight.

In 1970-71, the Bulldogs earned their third straight Missouri Valley Conference crown, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row. Drake received a bye in the first round, defeated Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen 79-72 (OT), but lost to Kansas 73-71 in the Elite Eight.

Drake would win their first national tournament title during the 1974-75 season, capturing the National Commissioners Invitational Tournament postseason title. In the tournament, the Bulldogs defeated USC 80-70, Bowling Green 78-65, and Arizona in the championship game 83-76.

The Bulldogs also advanced to the National Invitational Tournament during the 1980-81 season (losing to Minnesota in the first round 90-77) and the 1985-86 season (falling to Marquette 79-59 in the first round).

Dark days (1987–2006)

From 1987 to 2006, Drake did not have a winning season in men's basketball. It was a dreary time in the program's history. The stretch included a dismal 2-26 season in 1996-97 and a dreadful 3-24 season in 1997-98. The Bulldogs went through four coaches, none of whom finished with a winning coaching record at Drake.

The 2001-02 season showed a glimmer of hope after starting out on the wrong note. Drake would suspend four players at winter semester break due to their not abiding by the school's 2.0 GPA rule (NCAA requires 1.8). The Bulldogs almost responded by pulling off the unthinkable winning season. Drake entered the conference tournament with a 14-14 record; but fell to Illinois State 63-64 on a buzzer beating shot, ending the season 14-15.

The next season (2002–03) Drake would finish 10-20, leading to the dismissal of head coach Kurt Kanaskie at season's end.

On April 22, 2003, Drake announced the hiring of Dr. Tom Davis as its new men's basketball coach. The hiring drew national attention and brought instant credibility to the struggling program. Davis’ career included sixteen 20-win seasons, eighteen post season appearances, and he was named Associated Press National Coach of the Year in 1987.

During the 2003-04 season, Davis began the massive rebuilding project of Bulldog basketball. After going 37-51 in his first three seasons, the team finished with 17-15 in the 2006-2007 season. It was Drake's first winning record since the 1985-86 season. Following the season, Davis resigned leading to the hiring of his son Keno Davis.

Magical Season (2007–2008 season)

Under the guidance of Keno Davis, the 2007-08 season was one of the most storied in Drake history. The Bulldogs won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles, advancing the NCAA Tournament. Drake earned a five seed in the NCAA Tournament and they were ranked nationally throughout the year. The season would end in heartbreak fashion when Ty Rodgers hit a last second twenty-six foot three-point shot (a play that remains to this day on ESPN's Top 10 NCAA Tournament Buzzer Beaters), giving Western Kentucky a 101-99 overtime victory in the first round. Drake finished the season with a school best 28-5 record.

Dark Days Part II (2008–present)

After the successful 2007-08 season, Keno Davis accepted the head basketball coach position at Providence. As a result, Drake hired former Arizona State assistant coach Mark Phelps. In 2008-09, Phelps' first season, the Bulldogs finished with a 17-16 record, falling in the College Insider Tournament to Idaho. Despite his ability to recruit, Phelps' on the court coaching led to finishes of 7th and below in the MVC and dwindling fan attendance and support. Phelps contract was not renewed following the 2012-13 season and he was replaced by Ray Giacoletti.

Record versus conference teams

Below are the records of the Bulldogs versus current members of the Missouri Valley Conference.[2]

Team Record
Bradley 54-80
Evansville 20-20
Illinois State 29-49
Indiana State 37-40
Loyola 9-10
Missouri State 10-37
Northern Iowa 24-37
Southern Illinois 29-52
Wichita State 47-96
Total 259-421

MVC All-Centennial Team

In 2006-07, the Missouri Valley Conference celebrated its centennial as the nation's second-oldest NCAA Division I conference. As part of the celebration, The Valley named All-Centennial teams for each of the sponsored sports. Two of the 50 men's basketball players named were from Drake's program.[3]

Player Years
Lewis Lloyd 1979-81
Willie McCarter 1966-69

All-Century Team

Player No. Position Years
Ted Payseur ?? Forward 1918-22
Harley Wilhelm ?? Forward 1919-23
Bill Boelter ?? Forward 1921-24
Chuck Everett ?? Forward 1923-27
Chuck Orebaugh ?? Guard 1933-37
William Evans 4 Forward 1942-43, '46-49
Walt O'Connor 20 Guard 1938-41
Gus Ollrich 4 Guard 1946-48, 1951–54
Red Murrell 33 Forward 1955-58
Gus Guydon ?? Guard 1958-61
Gene West 10 Guard 1962-65
Willie Wise 42 Forward 1967-69
Willie McCarter 15 Guard 1966-69
Dolph Pulliam 5 Forward 1966-69
Jeff Halliburton 42 Forward 1969-71
Wayne Kreklow 15 Guard 1975-79
Ken Harris ?? Forward 1973-77
Lewis Lloyd 30 Forward 1979-81
Melvin Mathis 44 Forward 1982-86
Sam Roark 32 Forward 1986-90
Lynnrick Rogers 22 Guard 1993-97

Retired numbers

Retired numbers
Number Player Year
#5 Dolph Pulliam 2009
#15 Willie McCarter 2009
#30 Lewis Lloyd 1981
#33 Red Murrell 1958
#42 Willie Wise 2009


Missouri Valley Conference Players of the Year

Player No. Position Year(s) chosen
Jeff Halliburton 42 Forward 1971
Lewis Lloyd 30 Small forward 1980, 1981
Curt Smith 13 Point guard 1993
Adam Emmenecker 15 Point guard 2008

National Coaches of the Year

Coach Year(s) chosen
Keno Davis 2008

Men's Basketball Academic All-American of the Year

Player Year(s) chosen
Adam Emmenecker 2008


First Game Last Game Home Arena Capacity
January 26, 1907 March 2, 1909 The Shed 2,500
January 25, 1910 March 15, 1919 Alumni Gymnasium 4,102
January 6, 1920 March 6, 1926 Des Moines Coliseum 6,465
January 4, 1927 March 2, 1957 Drake Fieldhouse 6,500
December 2, 1957 March 2, 1992 Veterans Memorial Auditorium 11,411
December 5, 1992 Current Arena Knapp Center 7,002
Total 104 Seasons 6 Venues Average Capacity 6,330


Tournament history

Drake has participated in four different postseason tournaments. They have a 10–9 record overall in them.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament history

Season Elimination Round Team(s) Defeated Team(s) Lost To
1969 Third Place Texas A&M
Colorado State
North Carolina
1970 Elite Eight Houston New Mexico State
1971 Elite Eight Notre Dame Kansas
2008 First Round Western Kentucky
Total 4 Appearances Best Finish: Final Four (Third) Record: 5–4

National Invitational Tournament (NIT) history

Season Elimination Round Team(s) Defeated Team(s) Lost To
1964 Second Round Pittsburgh New Mexico
1981 First Round Minnesota
1986 First Round Marquette
Total 3 Appearances Best Finish: Second Round Record: 1–3

National Commissioners Invitational Tournament (NCIT) history

Season Elimination Round Team(s) Defeated Team(s) Lost To
1975 Champions Southern California
Bowling Green
Total 1 Appearance Best Finish: Champions Record: 3–0

CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) history

Season Elimination Round Team(s) Defeated Team(s) Lost To
2009 First Round Idaho
2012 Second Round North Dakota Rice
Total 2 Appearances Best Finish: Second Round Record: 1–2

Notes and references

External links

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