Winthrop Eagles men's basketball

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Winthrop Eagles
2018–19 Winthrop Eagles men's basketball team
Winthrop Eagles wordmark.png
UniversityWinthrop University
Head coachPat Kelsey (7th season)
ConferenceBig South
LocationRock Hill, South Carolina
ArenaWinthrop Coliseum
(Capacity: 6,100)
ColorsGarnet and Gold[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
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
NCAA Tournament appearances
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017
Conference tournament champions
1988, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017
Conference regular season champions
1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2016, 2017
Xavier Cooks shooting a free throw against VCU (2017).

The Winthrop Eagles men's basketball team represents Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, United States and competes in the Big South Conference. The Eagles hired former Xavier assistant coach Pat Kelsey in 2012 as men's basketball head coach to replace Randy Peele. Winthrop plays their home games in the 6,100 seat Winthrop Coliseum. Winthrop has appeared in ten NCAA Tournaments and has won 19 conference championships (season and tournament). The Eagles have played 38 seasons of basketball since their inaugural 1978–79 campaign.

Rise to mid-major prominence[edit]

During the late 1990s and 2000s, Winthrop established itself as one of the most successful mid-major programs in college basketball, reaching the NCAA Tournament eight times in ten seasons. From 1998–2008, the Eagles posted a 216–95 overall record and went 114–28 in Big South play. During this stretch, Winthrop defeated programs from major conferences like the ACC (Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami), Big East (Marquette, Missouri, Notre Dame, Providence), and SEC (Georgia, Mississippi State).[2] Since 2004, Winthrop has defeated over 25 non-conference D1 teams including: Akron, Alabama State, Appalachian State, Auburn (SEC), East Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee State, Furman, Georgia Southern, Illinois (Big 10), Jacksonville University, James Madison, Manhattan College, Montana State, Northern Illinois, Ohio University, Old Dominion, St. Louis University, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Portland, University of San Diego, Wake Forest (ACC), and William & Mary.[2] Winthrop beat these ACC, SEC, and Big 10 schools at the opposing school.

Gregg Marshall era (1998–2007)[edit]

Gregg Marshall coached the Eagles from 1998–2007, engineering one of the great program turnarounds in NCAA history. In just his first season at the helm, he led the eagles to a 21–8 record and an appearance in the 1999 Men's Division 1 Tournament. This success continued as his team would go on to make the Tournament in each of the next three seasons, establishing a winning tradition that would last into the 2010s. Overall, he posted a 194–83 overall record during his nine-year tenure and remains Winthrop's all-time winningest coach. Marshall led the Eagles to a 104–24 conference record, six Big South season titles, and seven Big South tournament titles. Winthrop appeared seven NCAA Tournaments, posted six 20-win seasons, and averaged 21.5 victories per year during the Marshall Era.

Randy Peele era (2007–2012)[edit]

Randy Peele posted a 77–82 overall record (48–38 Big South) as head coach from 2007–2012. He led the Eagles to one Big South season title and two Big South tournament titles. In addition, Peele's 2010–11 squad defeated Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Winthrop appeared in two NCAA Tournaments and notched one 20-win season under Peele's leadership. Randy Peele was relieved of his coaching duties at Winthrop on March 5, 2012.[3]

Pat Kelsey era (2012–Present)[edit]

Former Xavier and Wake Forest assistant Pat Kelsey was announced as Winthrop's new coach on March 29, 2012.[4] Through six seasons with the Eagles, Kelsey is 121–71 overall (68–36 Big South) and has led Winthrop to two Big South season championships (2016, 2017) and three Big South Tournament runner-up finishes (2014, 2015, 2016). In the 2016–17 season, Winthrop repeated as regular season champions and went on to defeat Campbell in the championship game of the Big South tournament to earn their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2010.

Winthrop Coliseum
Winthrop Coliseum

Under Kelsey, the Eagles' style of play has exhibited a fast-paced, high scoring offense and pack line defense. Kelsey's Eagles have broken multiple school records in categories such as free throw accuracy, blocked shots, three-pointers made, offensive pace,[5] and points scored in a single game.[6]

With the help of assistant coaches like Brian Kloman,[7] Kelsey has developed a successful international recruiting pipeline and has signed some of the top players in WU's history. This includes Winthrop's all-time leading rebounder[8] and shot-blocker,[5] Xavier Cooks, and Winthrop's all-time leading scorer, Keon Johnson.[9] In 2018, the program received verbal commitments from Josh Corbin and Jamal King, two ESPN 3-star players,[10][11] and D2 transfer Chandler Vaudrin, the national leader in triple-doubles.[12]

2006-07 Season: Top 25 and Round of 32[edit]

Winthrop achieved its greatest success in 2007, as it went 29–5 under Coach Marshall and finished #22 nationally in both the AP and Coaches' Final Polls. The Eagles posted a perfect 14–0 mark in conference play, winning the Big South regular season championship. Notable regular season non-conference victories included wins against Mississippi State and Old Dominion. Each of Winthrop's four regular season losses came at the hand of a Top 25 opponent, with two of the games decided by single-digit margins. They lost to the #2 program in the country (UNC) by seven points.

After winning the Big South Tournament, the Eagles were given a #11 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a First Round matchup against #6 seed Notre Dame. On March 16, 2007 (day before St. Patrick's Day), Winthrop defeated the Irish by a score of 74–64, becoming the first Big South men's basketball team to win an NCAA Tournament First Round game. In the Round of 32, the Eagles lost to #3 seed Oregon by a score of 75–61 to close out their season.


NCAA Tournament results[edit]

Winthrop has appeared in ten NCAA Tournaments and has a combined record of 1–10. The Eagles have twice appeared in the tournament's Opening Round and participated in its debut contest in 2001.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1999 #16 First Round #1 Auburn L 80–41
2000 #14 First Round #3 Oklahoma L 74–50
2001 #16 Opening Round #16 Northwestern State L 71–67
2002 #16 First Round #1 Duke L 84–37
2005 #14 First Round #3 Gonzaga L 74–64
2006 #15 First Round #2 Tennessee L 63–61
2007 #11 First Round
Second Round
#6 Notre Dame
#3 Oregon
W 74–64
L 75–61
2008 #13 First Round #4 Washington State L 71–40
2010 #16 Opening Round #16 Arkansas–Pine Bluff L 61–44
2017 #13 First Round #4 Butler L 76–64

Conference Championships[edit]

  • 1988 Big South (tourney) – Winthrop went 17–13 overall and won the Big South Tournament.
  • 1999 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 21–8 overall and 9–1 in Big South play.
  • 2000 Big South (tourney) – Winthrop went 21–9 overall and 11–3 in Big South play.
  • 2001 Big South (tourney) – Winthrop went 18–13 overall and 11–3 in Big South play.
  • 2002 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 19–12 overall and 10–4 in Big South play.
  • 2003 Big South (season) – Winthrop went 20–10 overall and 11–3 in Big South play.
  • 2005 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 27–6 overall and 15–1 in Big South play.
  • 2006 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 23–8 overall and 13–3 in Big South play.
  • 2007 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 29–5 overall and 14–0 in Big South play.
  • 2008 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 22–12 overall and 10–4 in Big South play.
  • 2010 Big South (tourney) – Winthrop went 19–14 overall and 12–6 in Big South play.
  • 2016 Big South (season) – Winthrop went 23–9 overall and 13–5 in Big South play.
  • 2017 Big South (season & tourney) – Winthrop went 26–6 overall and 15–3 in Big South play.


Winthrop Coliseum (1982–present): 6,100-seat multi-purpose arena in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Winthrop Coliseum

Player awards[edit]

Big South Men's Basketball Player of the Year

Big South Men's Basketball Freshman of the Year

  • Tyson Waterman (1996)
  • Tyrone Walker (2001)

Big South Men's Basketball Defensive Player of the Year

  • Mantoris Robinson (2009 & 2010)

NCAA statistical leaders[edit]

  • In 2006, James Shuler made 18 out of 18 free-throws in a single game to led the nation in highest single game free-throw percentage.[15]
  • In 2007, Michael Jenkins made 12 three-point shots in a single game to lead the nation in most three-point field goals made in a single game.[15]


  • Craig Bradshaw, power-forward and center for the Eagles from 2003–2007, played with New Zealand in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games.


  1. ^ Winthrop Eagles Athletics Graphics Standars Manual (PDF). Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Winthrop Eagles". Winthrop University. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  3. ^ Winthrop Eagles fire Randy Peele as basketball coach – ESPN
  4. ^ Winthrop Eagles make Pat Kelsey men's basketball coach – ESPN
  5. ^ a b "Winthrop Eagles". Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  6. ^ "Recap: WU vs. Pfeiffer". Blogging the WU. 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  7. ^ "What led to Winthrop basketball success recruiting internationally, especially in Oz?". heraldonline. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  8. ^ "Xavier Cooks became Winthrop's all-time leading rebounder as the Eagles dropped Radford". miamiherald. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  9. ^ "Ex-Tyger Keon Johnson breaks Winthrop U. scoring record". Mansfield News Journal. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  10. ^ "Winthrop roundup: Eagles men's basketball lands three commitments". heraldonline. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  11. ^ "Jamal King - Basketball Recruiting - Player Profiles - ESPN". Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  12. ^ "Who is Winthrop basketball's new mustachioed triple-double king?". heraldonline. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  13. ^ "Winthrop's Keon Johnson voted Big South player of the year". heraldonline. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  14. ^ "Big South Conference - Big South Announces 2017-18 Men's Basketball Award Winners". Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  15. ^ a b pbrock (2013-11-27). "NCAA Men's Basketball Records Books". - The Official Site of the NCAA. Retrieved 2018-10-18.

External links[edit]