St. Bonaventure Bonnies men's basketball

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St. Bonaventure Bonnies
2016–17 St. Bonaventure Bonnies men's basketball team
St. Bonaventure Script Logo.png
University St. Bonaventure University
Conference A-10
Location St. Bonaventure, NY
Head coach Mark Schmidt (10th year)
Arena Reilly Center
(Capacity: 5,480)
Nickname Bonnies
Colors Brown and White[1]
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
NCAA Tournament Final Four
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1961, 1968, 1970
NCAA Tournament appearances
1961, 1968, 1970, 1978, 2000, 2012
Conference tournament champions
A-10: 2012
Conference regular season champions
WNY3: 1950, 1951, 1957 1958
A-10: 2016
For information on all St. Bonaventure University sports, see St. Bonaventure Bonnies

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies men's basketball (formerly the St. Bonaventure Brown Indians) team is the college basketball team that represent St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York, United States. The school's team currently competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference and plays their home games at the Reilly Center. The "Bonnies" are currently coached by Mark Schmidt.

They last played in the 2016 National Invitation Tournament.



Of the major sports at St. Bonaventure, basketball was the final introduced. In 1902, the first team had been put together, mainly consisting of former football players. The coach of this team was university professor Patric Driscoll. Official records of these games were not kept. Proper facilities were not available until four years later when intramural games began to be played in a handball court on campus.

In 1916, Butler Gym was constructed, but wasn't finished by the time the intercollegiate team played its first game against University of Buffalo. This game was played in the Olean Armory. Games were cancelled until after World War I had ended. The first game played in Butler Gym was during the 1919-1920 season with Richard Phelan as the coach. Basketball prospered on campus in the decades between World War I and World War II. From 1942-1944, basketball was again put on hold for a world war. Following World War II, Anslem Kreiger, a former All-American Basketball player, took over the program, with a record of 15-10 over his two-year tenure.

Ed (Melvin) Milkovich took over the basketball team for a six-year period starting with the 1948–49 season. This was a period of great success for the program, with two appearances in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), the first during the 1950–51 season when the team was eliminated in the second round. Further success came with the team's appearance in the 1952 NIT, where they made it to the semifinals. Over his tenure, Milkovich led the team to a record of 98–47.

Edward Donovan took over head coaching duties for the 1953–54 season, holding the position for an eight-year period. The team again made an appearance in the NIT in 1957, again making it to the semifinals [2]

Golden era[edit]

Under Donovan, the team made it to the NIT every year from 1957–1960. In 1961, the team made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament as a #3 seed and finished third overall. However, this was Donovan's final season coaching the Brown Indians; in May 1961 he took a job as a coach of the New York Knicks.

Former Brown Indian, Larry Weise, took over the team starting with the 1961–62 season. In 1964, Weise led the team to the NCIT Tournament and the NIT. Under Weise's tutelage, the team returned to the NCAA Tournament in 1968, proceeding to the second round prior to being eliminated. In 1970, St. Bonaventure, led by future NBA-great Bob Lanier, was thought to have a legitimate shot at unseating UCLA for the national title. However, they lost Lanier late in their East Regional Final victory over Villanova to a torn ligament, causing the All-American to miss the Final Four. St. Bonaventure was upset by Jacksonville in the national semifinals, before losing to New Mexico State in the national consolation game.

Weise led the team to another trip to the NIT in 1971. In 1973, he relinquished his post as coach. He was replaced by Jim Satalin, another former Brown Indian. He led the team to a championship in the NIT in 1977. The next year, the team again made it to the NCAA Tournament and were defeated in the first round. In 1979, the Bonnies made another appearance at the NIT and again were defeated in the first round.[3]

Tough times[edit]

From 1981 to 1999, the Bonnies struggled mightily, only achieving an above .500 record 5 times. In 1982, they joined the Atlantic 10 Conference.


The 1999–2000, the Bonnies finished in second place in A-10 play under coach Jim Baron and lost to #6 ranked Temple in the A-10 Tournament championship. The Bonnies received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, their first bid since 1978. However, they failed to advance, losing to #19 ranked Kentucky in overtime in the First Round. Following the season Baron moved on to coach fellow A-10 school, Rhode Island.

2003 scandal[edit]

Jan van Breda Kolff was hired to continue the rebuilding Baron had achieved. However, he, instead, did the opposite. The 2002–03 men's basketball season was marred by a scandal after a transfer student from a junior college, Jamil Terrell, was permitted to play even though he had not completed his Associate Degree and was therefore ineligible for one year.[4] The team was forced to forfeit every game in which he played and was barred from the A-10 Tournament. In protest, players voted to sit out the last two games of the regular season. Head coach Jan van Breda Kolff, athletic director Gothard Lane, and school president Dr. Robert Wickenheiser were all ousted.[5] St. Bonaventure docked itself three scholarships from 2003 to 2005 and the NCAA subsequently put the team on three years' probation and banned them from postseason play in 2003–04.[6][7]

The resulting fallout had the Bonnies failing to achieve a winning record until the 2010–11 season under coach Mark Schmidt.

Renewed success[edit]

In the 2011–12 season, the team enjoyed more success than in any season since the 2003 scandal. Led by conference Player of the Year Andrew Nicholson — the 19th pick by Orlando in the 2012 NBA Draft — they accumulated a 20–12 record during the regular season. They then won the school's first-ever Atlantic 10 Tournament title, beating Saint Joseph's, UMass, and Xavier. The conference title earned them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost 66–63 to ACC champion Florida State in the second round at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

After Nicholson departed for the NBA, the 2012–13 team failed to qualify for the 2013 A-10 Tournament in Brooklyn. However, the 2013–14 Bonnies qualified for the A-10 Tournament, advancing to the semifinals. They upset the #1 seed Saint Louis on a buzzer-beater shot by Jordan Gathers, the nephew of the late Hank Gathers. That play made the SportsCenter Top 10 plays of the Night. In the 2014–15 campaign, the Bonnies had a winning record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the A-10 Conference Tournament. On February 7, 2015, Bonnies guard Marcus Posley hit a buzzer beater shot to upset the nationally ranked VCU Rams and Shaka Smart at the nearly sold-out Reilly Center. The students, and many fans, rushed the court to celebrate after Posley's shot went in.

The 2015–16 Bonnies finished in a three way tie for first place in the A-10 regular season. The Bonnies were upset in their first game of the A-10 Tournament, losing to Davidson. The Bonnies failed to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament and were considered one of the "first four out" by the selection committee, their poor non-conference strength of schedule and lack of non-conference quality wins being listed as the reasons they were not selected for a bid.[8] [9] Their omission was widely considered to be one of the largest snubs of the year, if not all time, being the first team to ever to have an RPI ranking in the top 30 and a conference regular season title to their name, and not receive a bid. It came as such a surprise to so many in the college basketball world, that it prompted the Atlantic 10 athletic director to issue a public statement voicing her dissatisfaction with the committee's decision to exclude the Bonnies.[8] Given the opportunity to avenge the snub as a top seed in the 2016 NIT, the team squandered it with a flat performance in a first-round loss to the bottom-seeded Wagner.


NCAA Tournament results[edit]

The Bonnies have appeared in six NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 6–8.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1961 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional Third Place Game
Rhode Island
Wake Forest
W 86–76
L 73–78
W 85–67
1968 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional Third Place Game
Boston College
North Carolina
W 102–93
L 72–91
L 75–95
1970 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Third Place Game
North Carolina State
New Mexico State
W 85–72
W 80–68
W 97–74
L 83–91
L 73–79
1978 First Round Pennsylvania L 83–92
2000 First Round Kentucky L 80–85OT
2012 Second Round Florida State L 63–66

NIT results[edit]

The Bonnies have appeared in 16 National Invitation Tournaments. Their combined record is 18–17. They were NIT champions in 1977.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1951 First Round
St. John's
W 70–67
L 58–60
1952 Quarterfinals
Third Place Game
Western Kentucky
W 70–69
L 62–69
W 48–34
1957 First Round
Third Place Game
W 90–72
W 85–68
L 78–80
L 50–67
1958 Quarterfinals
Third Place Game
St. Joseph's
St. John's
W 79–75
L 53–72
W 84–69
1959 First Round
St. John's
W 75–67
L 74–82
1960 First Round
Third Place Game
Holy Cross
St. John's
Utah State
W 94–81
W 106–71
L 71–82
L 83–99
1964 First Round Army L 62–64
1971 First Round
Third Place Game
Georgia Tech
W 94–79
W 73–64
L 71–76
W 92–88
1977 First Round
Championship Game
W 79–77
W 76–73
W 86–82
W 94–91
1979 First Round Alabama L 89–98
1983 First Round Iona L 76–90
1995 First Round
Second Round
Southern Miss
W 75–70
L 61–70
1998 First Round Vanderbilt L 61–73
2001 First Round Pittsburgh L 75–84
2002 First Round Syracuse L 66–76
2016 First Round Wagner L 75–79

CBI results[edit]

The Bonnies have appeared in one College Basketball Invitational. Their record is 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
2011 First Round UCF L 54–69

In accordance with school policy, since 2014, the team has declined all postseason tournament invitations other than the NCAA tournament and NIT.[9]


The following St. Bonaventure players were named NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans:

Retired numbers[edit]






External links[edit]