When he took over as basketball coach at McKendree University in 1966, Harry Statham's dream was to win a high school state championship somewhere; the job at the NAIA school in Lebanon, Ill., was a way to make a buck until a high school job came along. More than four decades later Statham is still waiting for that gig, let alone the title, but he's not lacking for things to celebrate. Last Saturday, when McKendree beat East-West University 79--49, Statham got his 1,000th win (against 382 losses)—all at McKendree. He's the first men's four-year college coach to reach the mark. Only Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt (1,005 at week's end) has more victories.
Against East-West, McKendree (5--1, No. 5 in the NAIA Division I poll) led by five at halftime before finishing the blowout with a 10--0 run. With a few minutes left the sellout crowd at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center (capacity 1,500) chanted the 72-year-old coach's name, then 40 former players joined him for a postgame celebration. "This is a great night, but this program is about all of the players who have played and who are playing at McKendree," said Statham, who has led the Bearcats to 10 American Midwest Conference titles and 13 NAIA tournament berths. "It's special to be able to share this evening with a lot of wonderful people."