Vikings Highlights

General Team Information:

Founded: 1929

Conference: Horizon League

Past Conferences: Midwestern Collegiate Conference, Mid-Continent Conference, Independent

Arena: Wolstein Center

City: Cleveland, Ohio

Championships and Titles:

3 Conference Tournament Championships

6 Conference Regular Season Championships

Team History

The Cleveland State (CSU) Vikings became active in 1929 but did not join NCAA Division I basketball until the 1972-73 season. It was an independent program under Ray Dieringer. In 1982-83, in his final season with the team, the Vikings joined the Mid-Continent Conference, which ultimately became the Horizon League in 2001-02. 

Cleveland, now under Kevin Mackey, became an underdog sensation during the 1985-86 season. Led by Mouse McFadden who dominated the Vikings team stats, CSU won both the regular season and tournament championships to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

The Vikings made the most of their first trip as they became the first 14-seed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. CSU proved a lucrative bet on the NCAAB odds as it upset Bobby Knight’s third-seeded Indiana Hoosiers in the first round then the sixth-seeded St. Joseph’s in the next. Ultimately, CSU lost a heartbreaker to NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson’s Navy. 

But that successful season would be the highlight of CSU’s men’s basketball thus far. The team would struggle to not only win the conference but finish with a winning record. The program did not return to the NCAA Tournament until the 2008-09 season. 

Now coached by Gary Waters, the Vikings once again pulled an upset by beating Wake Forest as a 13-seed. The likes of Norris Cole and Cedric Jackson, who would lead the Cleveland State Vikings team stats and go on to the NBA, led CSU to their best season in 23 years. 

Under Waters, the Vikings remained a competitive team albeit one that did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. But in a shortened 2020-21 season, Cleveland State once again got invited to March Madness. This time, however, the 15th-seeded Vikings could not pull off the upset as Houston blew them out 87-56. 

Presently, Daniyal Robinson is the Vikings’ new coach. The team is decent but faces steep odds of returning to the NCAA Tournament.

All-Time Cleveland State Vikings Records

Points Scored

  • Mouse McFadden: 2,256
  • Franklin Edwards: 2,235
  • Norris Cole: 1,978


  • Darren Tillis: 1,045
  • Warren Bradley: 908
  • Eric Mudd: 907


  • Mouse McFadden: 463
  • Franklin Edwards: 459
  • Charlie Lee: 458

Is Cleveland State a Division I school?

The Cleveland State Vikings play in Division I of NCAA men’s basketball. They play in the Horizon League where they recently finished as the regular season champions in 2021-22.

Where is Cleveland State men’s basketball?

The Vikings represent Cleveland State University (CSU). Their athletics department is located in Cleveland, Ohio.

How many NBA players came from Cleveland State?

A total of eight Vikings were drafted into the NBA with Norris Cole being the most recent in 2011. Cole won two NBA championships with the Miami Heat. Bryn Forbes is presently, as of the 2022-23 season, the only active Viking in the NBA.

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