History of Newman University basketball on display

Jan 21, 2021
Newman University basketball history

The Newman University archives department has created a display featuring the history of Newman University basketball.

The display was curated by Newman senior Michael VanDeest, who works part time in the archives department, and Director of Archives Sue Koenig. The pair put the display together using multiple documents, newspapers and photos they found in the archives.

VanDeest has worked in the archives department since the fall of 2018, helping preserve Newman University’s history.

He has created previous displays showcasing St. John Henry Newman Medal winners — formerly known as the Cardinal Newman Medal, campus buildings, the history of the Vantage student newspaper and more.

This most recent display features the full history of the Newman University basketball team, since the program started with the 1967-68 season.

One portion of the display features the first Jets basketball team

The display features the first basketball team, head coaches, the conference and athletic associations the program has competed in and star teams and players throughout Newman’s history.

Coach Herm Bachrodt, who started the program, was inducted into the Newman University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.

VanDeest organizes his displays based on the people involved in the subject matter.

“That was a big part of the display,” he said. “I organized it by the era of when each coach was here and then created a narrative about how the men’s basketball team was developed around that.”

The program has had seven coaches throughout its history, with Mark Potter having the longest legacy. He spent 19 years as head coach with Newman.

Because of a high number of requests, athletics was the first subject matter to be organized by the archives team. The basketball display came about because it’sthe sport in which they had the most information, though it wasn’t easy to piece together all of the bits and pieces they found.

“It took us a long time to research this just because there is no actual cataloged history for most of the sports at Newman University. Most of the information I found I had to piece together by looking at old newspapers and programs,” VanDeest said.

Basketball is the only sport that printed a yearbook-like program at the end of each year with player information, stats and a retrospective look at their season.

While sorting and piecing together the display, VanDeest found one of the most interesting parts of Newman’s basketball history was the struggle in starting the program.

“It seemed like there were a lot of problems trying to get the program started up at such a small school but Sister Sylvia Gorges, the former president, really pushed it forward at the time and she recruited some good people to help,” he said.

The basketball display will be up for the remainder of the semester and more sports histories will be featured in the future. Visit the Archives online here.