Wabash College will celebrate the 35th anniversary of its stunning run through the 1982 NCAA Division III Basketball Tournament that culminated with the College's first national championship on Saturday, Jan. 28.
The festivities are built around the Little Giants' home basketball game against Kenyon College at 3 p.m., but begin with the Alumni Game at 1 p.m. at Chadwick Court.
After the varsity game, the current players will host a reception for the 1982 National Champions in the Knowling Fieldhouse. Team captains Mike Holcomb and Pete Metzelaars, the 1982 Division III Player of the Year, will be in attendance, along with their coach, Mac Petty. Other members of the Championship team scheduled to appear include Merlin Nice, Chris Denari, Dave Clark, Kyle Foyer, and Dave Bromund. The event is open to the public.
The College is also excited to announce the release of a new book, Glory Reborn: A History of Wabash College and its Athletics, 1977-1982, which will be on sale Saturday in the Wabash Bookstore and in the Allen Center.
The book, written by alumnus John Kerezy '77, chronicles Wabash's unexpected run to the 1977 Stagg Bowl (Division III National Championship Game) in football and the excellence that all of the College's sports teams enjoyed in what is long known as the "golden age of Wabash athletics."
Kerezy's book includes interviews with more than 50 players, coaches, and fans, including football coaches Frank Navarro, Stan Parrish, and Greg Carlson. The book includes chapters on the 1982 basketball team and the 1982 football team, which went undefeated (10-0) in the College's sesquicentennial year behind All-American quarterback David Broecker. Kerezy wrote chapters on every Wabash sports team of the era — and the managers, trainers, writers, and broadcasters behind the scenes.
"A person who knows nothing about Wabash is astonished at its indomitable school spirit in athletics," Kerezy said. "Not long after the NCAA established Division III, Wabash came just three points shy of winning a national football championship in 1977 and then won the national basketball championship five years later in 1982. There are tremendous stories from this remarkable era. Looking back, Wabash has enjoyed four decades of excellence in many sports, especially in football, all stemming from the '77 to '82 era. The students and student-athletes from that period needed to have their stories preserved and told."
Kerezy also added a final chapter that summarizes Wabash's many successes since 1982. Included are the 1995 cross country team that had a perfect score at the NCAA Regional and placed third nationally, Josh Estelle breaking Metzelaars' seemingly invincible all-time scoring record in basketball, Mason Zurek's 2,000 yards rushing during the 12-1, 2015 football season, the wrestling team's astonishing third and fourth place finishes at nationals in 2015 and 2016 (and Riley Lefever's three straight national titles), and Jake Waterman's drive to become a two-time national champion in track — among other highlights.
"John Kerezy has assembled an amazing chronicle of Wabash wins and losses during the College's 'glory years' from 1977 to 1982," said Thaddeus Seymour, who served as President of the College during parts of the period. "I have been honored to share in this invaluable contribution to the great chronicle of Wabash history. It left me breathless and, most of all, proud beyond words."