Yale Bulldogs

NCAA Division: Division I

Conference: Ivy League

Past Conferences: Ivy and Ind

City: New Haven, Connecticut

Stadium: Payne Whitney Gymnasium

NCAA Tournaments: 1949, 1957, 1962, 2016, 2019, 2022



         National Championships: 0

       Conference Titles: 2


Team History

Yale University was originally named the “Collegiate School” as it was founded in 1901. The university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and the Yale Bulldogs men’s basketball team wouldn’t come to fruition until centuries later.

The program played its first game in the 1895-1896 season under head coach Henry Anderson. Yale’s program had a slight head-start over the other schools that are a part of the Ivy League.  

Similarly, the foundation of older college basketball programs has taken many years to establish as the school would go through numerous coaching changes to build the reputable structure as the world knows it today.

With that in mind, Yale has become one of the more successful programs in the conference, as many failed to follow suit over the years. Despite that, the road wasn’t easy; there would be a major stagnant period as the program dealt with tough seasons.

Although it’s hard to find information about who the coaches were during the years after the program’s inception, the team was named Pre-tournament Premo-Porretta champions during the 1896, 1897, 1899, and 1900 seasons.

Two-Time, Pre-Tournament Helms Champions

The Helms Athletic Foundation was a sports organization that was active from 1936 to 1961, but the champions before that were placed in the category as the Pre-tournament Helms champions. Yale would be honored twice as the team received this award in the 1901 and 1903 seasons. The school also won the Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League eight times, in 1902, 1903, 1907, 1915, 1917, 1923, 1933, and 1949.

The team would go through many incredible and unfathomable lows. To put that into perspective, the squad won 30 games in 1907 and just four in 1910. Yale University made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1949, ten years after the tournament began.

It’s important to note that the structure of the March Madness bracket has changed over the years, and in the past, fewer teams participated in the tournament. Additionally, some schools did not have well-developed athletic departments at the time, which allowed schools to make history.

Head coach Howard Hobson was the first coach to bring the program to the NCAA Tournament, as they showcased a regular season record of 22-8. The odds for making something happen, but they lost in the “Elite 8 to the Illinois Fighting Illini (opening round,) and the Regional Third-Place game to the Villanova Wildcats.

Their next two appearances in the 1957 and 1962 seasons didn’t amount to too much as they bounced in the opening round. After the 1962 season, Yale University experienced a long period without making it to the NCAA Tournament, since the drought would last more than 50 years before the school made the most of its opportunity.

After a 50-Year Drought…

The school would receive invitations to the NIT in 2002 and CIT in 2012 and 2014. With a regular season of just 19-14, this could arguably be one of the best seasons in its recorded history because of what they were able to accomplish, even though they didn’t participate in the NCAA Tournament.

In the quarterfinals of the CIT, the Bulldogs would face off against their rivals, the Columbia Lions, and won by three points in their 226th meeting at the time. The Yale team stats showed they were going to make their chances count. Unfortunately, Yale would lose in the Finals against the Murray State Racers.

Head coach James Jones led the school to its first trip in the dance in over 50 years. In the first round, the Bulldogs shocked the Baylor Bears as the team pulled off an upset to record its first-ever win in the dance before falling to the Duke Blue Devils in the second round.

In the two NCAA Tournaments following their 2016 appearance, Yale University lost in the first round. The team was unable to advance past the opening round of the tournament in these appearances. Currently, the school is 1-6 in the tournament.

Head coach James Jones is entering his 24th season with the program. In the preseason, Yale was among the top three teams in NCAAB odds to win the Ivy League Conference.

All-Time Records

  • Points Scored
    • Butch Graves 2,091
    • Justin Sears 1,700
    • Ed Petersen 1,605


  • Rebounds
    • Chris Dudley 974
    • Tim Daaleman 831
    • Justin Sears 819


  • Assists
    • Peter White 611
    • Larry Zigerell 428
    • Steve Leondis 375


  • Steals 
    • Alex Zampier 167
    • Daniel Okonkwo 157
    • Edwin Draughan 141




What Is the Worst Season in Program History?

Throughout its history, the program has had some great seasons, but it has also had some lows. The 1955 season was arguably their worst season, since the team registered a record of 3-21 in the regular season, which translates to a .125 win percentage. 


Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?

James Jones is the winningest coach in the history of the program, and he is entering his 24th season as head coach. Jones is the only coach in the program’s history to have won over 300 games, and he has over 350 wins to his name. He is well on his way to reaching the 400-win milestone, which would further cement his place as the program’s all-time winningest coach list.


Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?

Several players could be considered the greatest in the history of the program. Some notable players include Butch Graves, Tony Lavelli, and Miye Oni. However, Chris Dudley may be considered the greatest player from the program, as he was later selected in the fourth round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Dudley played 16 seasons in the NBA with five different teams. During his career, he averaged 3.9 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game.

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