NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Mid-American Conference
Past Conferences: MAC, Ind
City: Kent, Ohio
Stadium: Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center
NCAA Tournaments: 1999, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, and 2017
National Championships: 0
Conference Titles: 6
The Kent State Golden Flashes men’s basketball team started in the 1913-14 season and played their first intercollegiate game as an individual program in January 1915. Before joining the Mid-American Conference in the 1951-52 season, the team had a solid record of 15-8 during coach Harry Adams’ last season.
However, success didn’t come right away, since the transition proved to be a difficult one under the leadership of the next few coaches, until Gary Walters took over in 1996. The first two years of Walters’ tenure were a difficult one, such as the 9-18 and 13-17 from 1996-1998. As the program struggled against conference play, it was clear something needed to be done.
In 1999, Walters and the Golden Flashes were able to turn it around; the program was able to accumulate 23 wins and seven losses. During that year, the collegiate program was 13-5 in conference play.
In Toledo, the team defeated the Miami RedHawks in the MAC tournament championship before making its first NCAA appearance. That was before they lost to the Temple Owls in the opening round. Despite having nearly a similar record the following season, the squad failed to win the conference tournament and received an invitation to the NIT.
Against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Villanova Wildcats in the second round, their experience in the NIT proved essential to their success before falling to the Penn State Nittany Lions in the quarterfinals.
Winning the First MAC East Championship
As a result of the tough experience, the Flashes won their first MAC East championship in school history in 2000-01. In the opening round, the 13th-seeded team upset the fourth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers by a score of 77-73 before falling to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the second round.
Despite Gary Walters leaving the program, the Kent State Golden Flashes team stats showed their desire to make a memorable run the following season. Under Stan Heath’s regime, the team was able to make history. Odds were the highest as this was the program’s best season in history.
With Trevor Huffman, Andrew Mitchell, Demetric Shaw, and Eric Thomas leading the way, Kent State enjoyed its best season in 2001-02. Throughout the season, MAC records were set for overall wins with 30 wins, conference wins slated at 17, and the longest winning streak at 21 games.
As the tenth seed in the South Region, the Flashes pulled major upsets against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Pittsburgh Panthers in overtime. Kent State became the first team in the MAC to reach the Elite 8 since the Ohio Bobcats achieved that feat in 1964. Unfortunately, their Cinderella run came to a halt with the Indiana Hoosiers’ revenge.
Coach Christian led the Flashes to MAC East and MAC overall titles in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008, and won the MAC tournament again in 2006 and 2008. In 2008, Geno Ford took over the Flashes and had relative success for three years, then left for the program for the coaching job at Bradley University.
Currently, the team is coached by Rob Senderoff, as he looks to get the program back on track. This Golden Flashes team will have tough NCAAB odds seeking to make it back to the tournament.
- Points Scored
- Trevor Huffman 1,820
- Jaylin Walker 1,804
- Burrell McGhee1,710
- Jimmy Hall 538
- Justin Greene 538
- Danny Pippen 478
- DeAndre Haynes 625
- Ed Norvell 594
- Trevor Huffman 520
- John Edwards 179
- Khaliq Spicer 158
- Danny Pippen 143
- What Was the Best Season in Program History?
In 2001-02, the Golden Flashes reached the Elite 8; the Ohio Bobcats were the only other team from the MAC to reach the Elite 8 years prior.
2. Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?
The winningest coach for the program is Rob Senderoff, with the longest tenure in the program’s history and a record of 219 wins and 140 losses. Jim McDonald comes in second, with 147 wins and 140 losses. As the upcoming season progresses, Senderoff’s wins will increase.
3. Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?
Trevor Huffman is arguably the greatest player in the Golden Flashes’ history even though the program has retired four other jersey numbers. He has 1,820 career points, the most of any Kent State player.
After he finished his collegiate career, he spent 13 years overseas in Germany, Poland, Belgium, Venezuela, and France. Additionally, he had two NBA tryouts.