UCM and Warrensburg Celebrate Mules Championship with Parade, Pep Rally
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 1, 2014) – “How about those Mules?” After a brief pause, Mules Basketball Head Coach Kim Anderson delivered those four words Monday, March 31 to roaring applause and cheers from an estimated crowd of about 3,000 people who gathered in the University of Central Missouri’s Multipurpose Building.
Anderson spoke during an emotionally charged and exciting afternoon that concluded with a pep rally honoring the Mules for winning the NCAA II National Basketball Championship Saturday, March 29 in Evansville, Ind. Many members of the crowd had followed the team into the arena after watching the Mules roll through the streets of Warrensburg fora brief parade that brought out Mules fans from campus and throughout the community.
Upon their arrival at the Multipurpose Building, the team assembled in the locker room, where Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon greeted and spoke to them. Once inside the arena, team members carrying the national championship trophy stepped onto the speakers’ platform greeted by thousands of screaming fans, performances by the UCM pep band, cheerleaders and Mulekickers. UCM President Charles Ambrose, Senator David Pierce, Athletic Director Jerry Hughes and Gov. Nixon all spoke to the crowd. A highlight video of the Mules' national championship run also was played on the arena videoboard, and seniors Jon Gilliam and Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player Daylen Robinson spoke to the crowd before head coach Kim Anderson wrapped up the night.
Anderson made special presentations to the governor, and thanked the UCM basketball fans for their support throughout the season.
“I want to thank the Mule Nation,” he said, “If you can find any place better than this, I just don’t think it exists.”
This was Anderson’s first national championship since he began coaching at UCM 12 years ago. With a 274-95 record as a Mules coach, he has guided his UCM teams to three Final Fours, six MIAA regular season titles, four MIAA Tournament titles, and has won at least 24 games five times. His six MIAA crowns are the most for any coach in UCM history.
“This championship I’ve literally had hundreds of emails, phone calls and text messages,” he told the crowd. “I’ve been here 12 years but the most satisfying thing to me is when the guys I used to yell at, scream at, discipline…I want them to know and I want you to know, this championship was won by this group of young men, the 2014 team.”
Mules Daylen Robinson and Chuck Hammork led the parade celebrating the Mules national championship title with assistance from the Warrensburg Fire Department.
Following the program, UCM players and coaches signed autographs for fans in attendance. More photos and video will be posted at UCMathletics.com in the coming days.
In Indiana, the UCM Mules basketball team won their second NCAA Division II National Championship defeating West Liberty University, Wheeling, W.Va., 84-77. The game saw 14 ties and nine lead changes, but the No. 20-ranked team, the Central Missouri Mules, used a 6-0 run in the last minute to beat No. 7 West Liberty. The Mules rallied from a nine-point deficit to claim their first men's basketball title in 30 years.
The last time the Mules won a NCAA-II National Championship was in March 24, 1984. After the Jennies basketball team was also victorious later that day in Springfield, Mass., it was the first time in college basketball history that men’s and women’s basketball teams from the same school won a national championship on the same court on the same day.
With the 2014 NCAA-Division II Championship, the Mules record overall was 30 wins and five losses. Thirteen of those wins took place at home, where they were undefeated. The team’s 30 wins are the second most in a single season in school history.
Mules player Daylen Robinson was named Most Outstanding Player of the Elite Eight, and teammates Dillon Deck and Charles Hammork were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Mules were 16-3 in their conference, and 14-2 in non-conference games. They outscored opponents 2,820 to 2,398.
This was a team that truly worked together as is evident in their scoring. Dillon Deck led the team in scoring, averaging 13.8 points per game overall, and 14.2 points per game in conference play. Daylen Robinson was close behind with 13.1 points averaged overall, and 13.7 in conference play, and Charles Hammork averaged 12.7 overall and 12.4 points in conference.
The Mules accumulated 2,820 total points this season, and averaged 80.6 points per game. They had a .493 Field Goal percentage compared to opponents who average overall .412 percent shooting. The Mules also average 13 assists per game compared to 10.7 by their opponents, and 359 turnovers, which was less than 466 committed by the other teams they played against. Contributing to a championship season, the Mules averaged more steals, blocks, fewer turnovers and more rebounds per game than their opponents.