Winthrop Eagles men's basketball
|Head coach||Pat Kelsey (6th season)|
|Location||Rock Hill, South Carolina|
|Colors||Garnet and Gold
|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|
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 head men's basketball coach to replace Randy Peele. Winthrop plays their home games in the 6,100 seat Winthrop Coliseum. Winthrop has appeared in nine 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 lower tier mid-major prominence
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 such major conference programs as Georgia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Marquette, Mississippi State, Providence, Missouri, Georgia, and Clemson.
Gregg Marshall era (1998–2007)
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 2010's decade. 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)
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.
Pat Kelsey era (2012–Present)
Former Xavier and Wake Forest assistant Pat Kelsey was announced as Winthrop's new coach on March 29, 2012. Through five seasons with the Eagles, Kelsey is 99–58 overall (56–30 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.
2007 Season: Top 25 and Round of 32
Winthrop achieved its greatest success in 2007, as it went 29–5 under Coach Marshall and finished #22 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.
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
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.
|1999||#16||First Round||Auburn||L 80–41|
|2000||#14||First Round||Oklahoma||L 74–50|
|2001||#16||Opening Round||Northwestern State||L 71–67|
|2002||#16||First Round||Duke||L 84–37|
|2005||#14||First Round||Gonzaga||L 74–64|
|2006||#15||First Round||Tennessee||L 63–61|
|2008||#13||First Round||Washington State||L 71–40|
|2010||#16||Opening Round||Arkansas–Pine Bluff||L 61–44|
|2017||#13||First Round||Butler||L 76–64|
- 1998 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 University Visual Identity Manual (PDF). June 30, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
- Winthrop Eagles fire Randy Peele as basketball coach – ESPN
- Winthrop Eagles make Pat Kelsey men's basketball coach – ESPN