Friday, March 6, 2015

Twelve seasons ago, Wofford was in familiar situation

When Mike Young, who had served as an assistant under Richard Johnson for over a decade, inherited the program in 2002, perhaps no one quite knew what a dynasty was about to ensue. Likewise, no one could have predicted that, twelve seasons later, a squad in a completely different position could be fixed in a familiar situation.

Back then, the stat lines were dominated by the now-illustrious names of players like Mike Lenzly and Howard "H" Wilkerson, both of which are known for their international play, and the Southern Conference landscape looked quite similar to how it does now.
Lenzly (5) was Wofford's
scoring leader in 2002-03.
AP/Marquette University

Young's team faced a harsh out-of-conference slate that season, which included games at West Virginia (lost 79-69) and North Carolina State (lost 86-71). If that doesn't ring a bell, the Terriers -- which finished the season 8-8 in league play, third in the SoCon -- faced none other than UNC-Greensboro in the opening round of the tournament.

Wofford defeated the Spartans in a heated battle, 77-73, only to fall to eventual-champion East Tennessee State in the next round of play. The strangest part of all this? It can happen again this season; the first season that the Bucs are back in SoCon action, they're on the same side of the bracket as the Terriers.

Strikingly, Mike Young's first season as skipper in Spartanburg was a sign of things to come -- good things, like the turnaround of a less-than-spectacular program and solidarity of a permanent place in the fierce SoCon lineup. It would've been hard to imagine a tiny program like Wofford rising from the pack and punching several tickets to the NCAA tourmanment, but it happened.

And now, twelve years removed, this outfit has hurdled obstacle after obstacle en route to becoming something of a mid-major (never liked that moniker for a school Wofford's size, but the level of play is there) power. Making it through the non-conference schedule with the team's optimism and mindset relatively unscathed? Dropping just two regular-season league contests?

Who would've thought that in 2015, the Terriers, albeit with a first-round bye, would be opening up their tournament play with those same Spartans? We need to enjoy this while it's happening, because everyone knows that moments are fleeting -- twelve seasons are going to go by before you know it.


  1. Good article...Lee Nixon was a good player too during that era...Also Rashawn DeLoach.

    1. Thanks for reading...When I was researching players from around this time, I found Lee Nixon, but there wasn't much information. Would you happen to have anything? Thanks!

    2. Yes I have some info on him...Will try to send it to you.

    3. Congrats to the Terriers...Mike Young is a class act, as is Karl Cochran...Will be rooting for the Terriers in the NCAA Tournament.

  2. Also Lenzly once had a triple-double in a game...I believe it was against UNCG but I am not positive.