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Detroit Mercy Titans

General Team Information:

Founded: 1905
Conference: Horizon League
Past Conferences: Midwestern Collegiate Conference, Midwestern City Conference, Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), Independent
Arena: Calihal Hill
City: Detroit, Michigan

Championships and Titles:

3 Conference Tournament Championships
2 Conference Regular Season Championships

Team History

As a notable “mid-major” program, a lot of the Detroit Mercy Titans’ success has come in the 1970s though it produced some notable stars in its earlier seasons. The program started in 1905 as an independent (briefly joined the Missouri Valley Conference from 1949 to 1957.) Bob Calihan became one of the team’s first stars when he played from 1937 to 1940. He returned as head coach beginning the 1948-49 season.

The team began making breakthroughs in the 1960s. The Titans were ranked 11th by the AP Poll in 1959-60, then as high as third the following season. In 1962, the team qualified for its first NCAA Tournament. Dave DeBusscherre led the Titans’ team stats, though they lost in the first round. He would go on to have a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the New York Knicks.

After Calihan’s departure, the Titans maintained some level of status. Dick Vitale took over in 1973 and led the team to their most successful season during 1976-77.

Led by the star trio of Terry Duerod, Terry Tyler, and John Long, the Titans finished 25-4 in the regular season and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The team advanced to the Regional Semifinal (Sweet Sixteen,) which is still its best finish as of 2022.

Out Vitale, In Smokey Gaines

While Vitale departed for the NBA, the Titans remained a potent squad under new coach Smokey Gaines. The team replicated its season and returned to the NCAA Tournament in 1979, albeit failing to win a game.

In 1980, Detroit joined the Midwestern City Conference (which is now the Horizon League) but quickly struggled. Its next period of success won’t be until the mid-90s under Perry Watson. Rashad Phillips would also lead the Detroit Mercy Titans’ team stats as the program made consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 1998 and 1999.

However, following these seasons Detroit would not return to March Madness until the 2011-12 season under Ray McCallum. The program struggles to string together winning seasons and will often be found as an underdog on the NCAAB odds.

All-Time Detroit Mercy Titans Records

Points Scored

  • Antoine Davis: 2,734
  • Rashad Phillips: 2,319
  • John Long: 2,167


  • Dave DeBusschere: 1,542
  • Dick Dzik: 1,158
  • Terry Tyler: 1,151


  • Kevin McAdoo: 614
  • Rashad Phillips: 548
  • Jermaine Jackson: 509


Is Detroit Mercy a Division I program?

The Detroit Mercy Titans play in Division I of NCAA men’s basketball. They play in the Horizon League where they recently have three conference titles as of the 2021-22 season.

Has Detroit Mercy been to March Madness?

The Titans have been to six NCAA Tournaments with the most recent being in 2012. The furthest Detroit got to was the Sweet Sixteen in 1977.

Who is the most famous basketball player from Detroit Mercy?

Several Detroit Mercy alumni went on to have NBA careers. The most notable are the likes of Dave DeBusschere, Spencer Haywood, and WIllie Green. DeBusschere and Haywood are Hall of Famers while Green is coaching the New Orleans Pelicans as of the 2022-23 season.

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