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  1. #1
    Sophomore Xuperman's Avatar
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    2 MAJOR MILESTONE and BOB STAAK

    I believe Xavier played 1 game in 1919 as the official beginning of the Men’s Basketball program. The start of the regular season in November marks the 100th year but more significantly IMO is that coincidentally it will be 40 years since Bob Staak arrived at X as the new Head Coach AND Athletic Director.....a perfect time to acknowledge the father of the “modern era” of Xavier basketball.

    Did a little research on Staak and didn’t realize his strong ties to charter Big East members St Johns and UConn. Although the BEast had not yet formed, he was a helluva player in the early 70’s. Played his Freshman year for the Johnnies before transferring to Storrs and upon graduation was 4th on the Huskies all time scoring list. Made a brief attempt at playing in the ABA but ended up taking a variety of coaching gigs instead. He ended up as an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania under Chuck Daly and found himself coaching in the 1979 Final Four....next stop Victory Parkway.

    I don’t recall seeing any Tay Baker Xavier games, so 1979 and Staak is where it starts for me. In his 1st season, the spring of 1980, is when Digger Phelps brought the Irish to Schmidt Fieldhouse. I remember thinking Tripuka, Woolridge...Man, this is BIG TIME BASKETBALL! I believe Staak recruited Anthony Hicks who really was the spark that started the fire. He was some kinda player! Another Staak moment that really stands out is the victory over Ohio State in the NIT. He got the Wake job after that which ushered in Gillen.

    So, let’s hear it for the guy that got the ball rollin’....it’s been an amazing 40 YEARS!!
    Last edited by Xuperman; 07-26-2019 at 08:44 AM.
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  2. #2
    Supporting Member XU 87's Avatar
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    I remember when Staak was hired. I also remember watching a bunch of games during the Tay Baker years (Nick Daniels, Steve Spivery, Gary Whitfield, Dale Haarman, to name a few.)

    It's been a long and fantastic journey.

  3. #3
    Sophomore surfxu's Avatar
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    Really has been an amazing ride. My first year was Byron's senior year so I missed out on the "Staak" years, that being said, through all the coaching changes and all the conference changes and heck, even a couple venue changes...Fieldhouse-Gardens-Cintas... it's been incredible the consistency and the continued growth and improvement of this program. What's even cooler is there's no sign that anything is about to let up. Travis turned that team around and got it playing like a top 30 team towards the end of the season so I think he's up for the challenge and there's been some significant wins on the recruiting trail with the guys coming in this year and how things are shaping up for next year. This whole coaching staff has a lot of energy and it's really cool they are all together this year too. Totally builds confidence with each other and with the players.
    I have complete faith in coach Steele and Co.

  4. #4
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    Great thread.

    I've shared it before, but Staak held a pep rally in the Armory before the beginning of his first season. For all those in attendance that evening, it was kind of like we were all prisoners of war just released from prison. No one knew what it was like to truly be positive at a Xavier basketball game or about Xavier basketball. There was no culture of excellence and winning, coming off the Tay regime. It was almost surreal. Walking around the armory that evening, enjoying multiple 3.2 Hudy's while wondering where all this effort might lead was just a different experience. I think most people there that evening were caught up in the "what happens from here" train of thought while otherwise not really knowing how to cheer all that well or enthusiastically.

    And now for a very specific point that just came to mind about progress over 40 years in this specific regard. Look at the culture now! I enjoy watching our fantastic student section during home games. They're nuts.

    Staak knew that he had to almost literally build Xavier basketball back up from the ground up. He had to prime the pump of fan support. He followed up with early results that laid the foundation for Xavier basketball as we know it today.

    Otherwise, thank you for reminding me of Kelly Make MeTripuka!

    Digger and Al McGuire at Schmidt Memorial Fieldhouse. Good times, though we were the Christians getting wiped out at our own "coliseum"!
    X A V I E R

  5. #5
    Sophomore Mel Cooley XU'81's Avatar
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    Graduating in '81 I was greeted by two years of Tay Baker, then two of Bob Staak.

    Joe Sunderman remains a high-standard benchmark of those years.

    He was fun to watch play . . . and compete!

    A good guy then and a gentleman and ambassador for the program today.

    His bobblehead watches over me as I type this post.

    Hail Joe!
    Warmly,
    "Mel"

  6. #6
    Sophomore Xuperman's Avatar
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    Yeah, Joe has become a local treasure. The Joe/Byron radio coverage is now on par with Marty/Joe Reds broadcasts for us Xavier fans, with no end in sight. I always check to see if they sync up with games on TV.....so much more informed play by play and color than the TV guys.

    Speaking of Byron. Image how things could have gone differently if Bob Staak had not convinced him to play basketball for X instead of football in the B10?
    Last edited by Xuperman; 07-31-2019 at 07:39 AM.
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  7. #7
    Sophomore scoscox's Avatar
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    Nova is doing some cool things for their 100th program anniversary. kind of disappointed we haven't done anything
    "The only time you take your hands off an opponent's throat is to get a better grip" - Byron Larkin

  8. #8
    Supporting Member Sonoran Desert Muskie's Avatar
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    I was fortunate to start at XU in 1980 and saw the quick progression of the Staak years. Went to virtually all of the games, including Ohio State. Staak really was the catalyst for XU basketball. I did go to some Tay Baker games when I was in grade school and high school, including a game against a young Al McGuire and Marquette. The only things I remember about that game were that McGuire was a raving, red- faced lunatic screaming at the refs, someone from the student section threw a cup (beer?) on the court, and MU won by about 25. Interesting tidbit ... I caddied several times for Tay Baker at Clovernook Country Club, probably around 1975-76. Tay was a pretty good golfer, maybe single digit handicap.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member XU 87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonoran Desert Muskie View Post
    I was fortunate to start at XU in 1980 and saw the quick progression of the Staak years. Went to virtually all of the games, including Ohio State. Staak really was the catalyst for XU basketball. I did go to some Tay Baker games when I was in grade school and high school, including a game against a young Al McGuire and Marquette. The only things I remember about that game were that McGuire was a raving, red- faced lunatic screaming at the refs, someone from the student section threw a cup (beer?) on the court, and MU won by about 25. Interesting tidbit ... I caddied several times for Tay Baker at Clovernook Country Club, probably around 1975-76. Tay was a pretty good golfer, maybe single digit handicap.
    I was at that Marquette game. It was a beer can that got thrown on the court. It was actually a close game until Marquette pulled away at the end. McGuire ran the score up, as he was pressing up by more than 15 points with less than 2 minutes to go. I think Marty Wolf was lead scorer for X with about 12 points.

  10. #10
    Supporting Member paulxu's Avatar
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    You guys are doing a hellavu job reminding me how old I am. Thanks for that.

    I know we played our first game in 1920 (no, I wasn't there) but took 2 years off for WWII. Ergo...Team 98 this year.
    Probably celebrate 100 in a couple years?
    ...he went up late, and I was already up there.

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