Eagles Highlights

General Team Information:

NCAA Division: Division I

Conference: Mid-American Conference 

Past Conferences: MAC, Ind

City: Ypsilanti, Michigan

Stadium: George Gervin GameAbove Center

NCAA Tournaments: 1988, 1991, 1996, 1998


National Championships: 0

Conference Titles: 4

Team History

The Eastern Michigan Eagles men’s basketball team has had a long history, as it began in the 1897-98 season. As an independent school, the Eagles were far from being considered a relevant program until they joined the Mid-American Conference.

Before joining the MAC in 1972, the university competed in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1920-1926) and lost in the Division II Final Four in 1972 as well. When a program moves to a stronger conference or division, it faces new challenges at all-time lows as the competition becomes more intense. 

Many tweaks needed to be made as the team went through several coaching changes. Since joining the MAC, the team would post its first positive record in the 1981-82 season under Jim Boyce. However, the basketball team didn’t achieve its apex until Ben Braun was put in charge as head coach from 1985 to 1996.

Odds were the greatest during that period as Braun was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year three times (1988, 1991, and 1996). In 1988, the Eagles would punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time as a 15th seed. However, the Eagles were over-matched by the potent number two-seeded Pittsburgh Panthers offense.

The 1991 season may not show the best record in the school’s history; however, the Eastern Michigan team stats proved otherwise. They reached their zenith as a 12th-seeded team as the squad upset the fifth-seeded Mississippi State Bulldogs and the 13th-seed Penn State Nittany Lions (OT Game) in the first and second rounds. 

Ninth Seed – Highest in Program History

Eventually, the team would get dominated on both sides of the ball against the one-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels. With a 25-6 record in Braun’s final season as coach, the Eagles were awarded the ninth seed in the NCAA Tournament, which was the highest ranking in program history.

They took care of business against the #8 Duke Blue Devils in the opening round. Subsequently, the team would go on to lose against the #1 Connecticut Huskies in the second round. At the end of the season, he would leave to take over the head coaching duties at the University of California-Berkeley.

Milton Barnes would be the last coach to bring the Eagles to the Tournament as they would lose to the fourth-seeded Michigan State Spartans in 1998. Barnes’ tenure consisted of incredible highs and inexcusable lows. During the next season, the team finished 5-20 and 5-13 in conference play.

EMU would go through some decent but mostly difficult stretches. Stan Heath will be entering his second season as head coach. Former top-five recruit Emoni Bates transferred from the Memphis Tigers to EMU. Despite this major addition, the Eagles will face some long NCAAB odds as they look to get the program back on track.

All-Time Records

Points Scored

    • Earl Boykins  2,211
    • Derrick Dial 1,891
    • Ray Lee 1,873


    • James Thompson IV 1,451
    • Brandon Bowdry 1,007
    • Grant Long 863


    • Earl Boykins 624
    • Lorenzo Neely 521
    • Michael Ross 421


    • Lorenzo Neely 245
    • Tim Bond 237
    • Earl Boykins 222


What Was the Best Season in Program History?

The Eagle’s best season in the program’s history has to be the 1990-91 season. Spirits were high amongst the members of the team, as this would be the only time the program made it to the Sweet 16. 

Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?

During his 10.5 seasons, Ben Braun brought the best out of the Eagles men’s basketball team. He led Eastern Michigan to its most successful decade as a Division I school as he finished as the winningest head coach in EMU history with a 185–132 record.

Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

George Gervin is unanimously the greatest player in the program’s history. He was selected in the third round of the 1974 NBA Draft. During his career, he was named to 12 All-Star selections and is a member of the NBA Hall of Fame. 

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