Arkansas Tech Golden Suns: National Champions pt.2

Arkansas Tech Golden Suns: National Champions pt.2


Few teams in the history of college
basketball at any level can match the achievements of the 1991-92 Arkansas
Tech Golden Suns they finished with an overall record of 35 and 1 they won
their final 29 games in a row and each of their final 28 victories were by 12
points or more after winning the AIC and NAIA district 17 titles the Golden Suns
breezed through the 1992 NAIA national tournament establishing tournament
records for points scored and three-point field goals made along the
way Tech shot 60% from the field and 65% from three-point range during their
five-game march through Jackson Tennessee for the first national title
in school history well I coached that tournament how you
coach a baseball pitcher pitching a no-hitter I kept my mouth shut I thought
I just sat and watched I don’t think we probably use three timeouts and the
whole five games we just watched those kids play and I’d like to say I didn’t
want to jinx it and I knew it was something special and I just like John
realizes something special and we just let him play and you know what was so
funny we were only playing you know six or seven kids so everybody that we
played that you can just see from the first time out you know they were
substituting three or four kids at times so each game each coach thought you know
we’re gonna run this team down we’re just going to run ’em to death there’s no
way that can keep going well those kids have played that way the whole year so
you ain’t gonna run them down and we were on such a roll that they run in
such a zone and such a high that you know that’s one thing I think in
coaching sometimes you can over coach and mess those things up and I was
mature enough at that time to know a little bit to leave them alone yeah I
just left ’em alone and let them play you know after the
first game it was like okay that was the first game it’s just probably our
easiest victory right here and then it just kept going from there and it was it
was basically a walk in the park and Dawn Grill and Marla Goshen were on fire
that tournament one thing about our team about all the players that were on the
floor you never know who the star was going to be from one game to the next
and that’s why it was hard for people to guard us to play us to compete with us
because if I was having a bad game somebody else was gonna pick it up
you couldn’t focus on just one person yeah I think Dawn and Stephanie and Marla
for sure in those games were they just couldn’t miss almost I
mean and it was and it was not just each one of them shooting it was everybody
getting them open each of them setting a screen to get each other open and that’s
what I’m saying at that point not a lot of people did that and so screening and
then somebody who screens cans also step out and shoot was difficult for
other people to guard but they they just again we had rep’d it so much it was
almost like practices were harder than games for us Foley had first
implemented motion offense when he became the Golden Suns head coach in
1987 with the 1991-92 team he found the perfect group to implement his system
and turn a lack of size into a strength rather than a weakness you know we
needed equalizer and I felt like motion was that and I think that that’s reason
that we were able to beat those teams with the 6’3″ 6’4″ 6’5″ kids is because they
couldn’t guard kids like Stephanie out on the floor and so you get a kid that’s
six foot that can shoot the you know 15 foot a jump shot you’re bringing her off screens
you know it’s hard for 6’3″ 6’4″ kids that doesn’t guard that very often you get to
have a chance to do that oh I loved motion offense loved it because it just
gave us it gave us the opportunity to do our thing I mean coach Foley would break
it down in practices to post play to you know and outside play but
for the most part we were just kind of ad-libbing as we were out there even
though he gave us the skills in practice to pull it off at that time
obviously for most of us the best thing that could happen to us back then it was it
was obviously something that every college athlete wants to be again not
something that we set out necessarily to do but very very special the fans at
Arkansas Tech were always so good to us and kind of accepted us
we all knew each other’s parents I mean I it was such a family atmosphere for us
because we were all so close to living in Russellville I mean our you know me
Atkins Allison Atkins Dawn’s Conway our Greenbrier Stephanie Conway we were all
so close our families traveled with us and so it was such a family event I
think we were just as happy for our fans as much as we were happy for ourselves you

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