Rockets Highlights

General Team Information:

NCAA Division: Division I

Conference: Mid-American Conference 

Past Conferences: MAC, Ind

City: Toledo, Ohio

Stadium: John F. Savage Arena

NCAA Tournaments: 1954, 1967, 1979, 1980 


National Championships: 0

Conference Titles: 1

Team History

The Toldeo Rockets’ men basketball started in the 1915-16 season as the program was introduced to the Mid-American Conference in 1951 after competing as an individual school for so many years prior. For most teams making abrupt conference changes, success doesn’t come right away. 

Meanwhile, Toledo enjoyed a brief window of success in the MAC during its first years as a member under Jerry Bush’s coaching prowess. In 1954, despite having a worse record than the previous year and a slightly better conference record, the team was able to punch its ticket to the tournament with a 13-10 record (10-2 Conference Play).

Eventually, all good things have to come to an end as Bush left the program to coach the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the next nine seasons. During the next 11 seasons, the Rockets failed to make any noise as Edward Melvin had a combined record of 125-133. 

Things started to turn in the right direction as Bob Nichols was promoted once Melvin resigned from the position. During his long 22-year tenure, he compiled a record of 377-211, which resulted in five Mid-American Conference (MAC) championships and the 1980 MAC tournament title. He compiled twenty consecutive winning seasons before resigning in 1987 after a string of losing seasons.

Five Coaching Changes After Nichols

After his resignation, the program has gone through five coaching changes as the program is still looking to make it back to the tournament. The farthest the program made it in the NCAA Tournament was in 1979. After defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the opening round, they eventually lost to the Norte Dame Fighting Irish in the Sweet 16.

In the NIT, the program has struggled to achieve success, as they were bounced in the first round in 2004, 2007, 2014, 2019, 2021, and 2022. Odds were the best during the 1979 season as the team made it to the second round.

The Toledo Rockets team stats haven’t been great in the NCAA Tournament, since they have a combined record of 1-4 despite a combined regular season record of 1518-1114. 

Tod Kowalczyk has found some success as head coach of the Toledo Rockets and will guide a team in 2022-23 that will be awarded some tough NCAAB odds. The current state is still a work in progress as he enters his 13th year as head coach.

All-Time Records

Points Scored

    • Ken Epperson 2,016
    • Craig Thames 1,964
    • Julius Brown 1,838


    • Ken Epperson 960
    • Doug Hess 892
    • Dick Miller 885


    • Julius Brown 694
    • Marreon Jackson 573
    • Keith Wade 560


    • Keith Triplett 278
    • Jonathan Amos 242
    • Justin Ingram 217


What Was the Best Season in Program History?

The best season is undoubtedly the 1978-79 season, when the team went 22-8. The Sweet 16 was the program’s highest point; it has been a tough set of years since the apex of its program. 

Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?

Bob Nichols was the winningest coach in the program’s history; he spent 22 years with the college. He was able to accumulate 377 wins during his tenure. At the age of 82, Nichols passed away in Toledo on March 30, 2013.

Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

The greatest player in the program’s history would have to be Steve Mix (1966-69). As a result, in 2007, the Rockets retired former forward Steve Mix’s number 50, making him the first player to have his number retired in program history.

He was sixth all-time in points with 1,676 points, and fourth in rebounds. Due to his success in college, he spent 13 years in the NBA as he played for the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 16 minutes per game per 48 and got one nod to the All-Star appearance in 1974-75 with the 76ers.

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