UNO Basketball dates back beyond a century


Written by Joe Gabbert


The Maverick’s basketball program began all the way back in 1911 three years after the founding of the school in 1908 and only twenty years after the creation of basketball in 1891 by James Naismith. The team was discontinued in 1917 and 1918 for World War I, giving some perspective on just how long the club has been playing

Over this period, the Mavericks have had a total of 21 coaches, and Coach Bob Hanson held the longest tenure for a total of 25 years from 1969-1994. He also holds the school record for wins at 382 with a 55 win percentage. The next winningest coach is current coach Derrin Hansen, followed by former NBA player and two time NCC coach of the year winner Kevin McKenna, who coached from 01-05.

The Mavericks have a list of 33 players who have scored over 1000 points in their collegiate careers, with Dean Thompson, Jr. (1980-84) topping the list with 1,816 total points. Dennis Forest, who comes in third on the all-time scoring list holds the record for most points in a single season in 1976 at 722. Art Allen holds the single season point per game record at 25.8 (1969-70) and Dennis Browne the rebound rate at an impressive 17.2 (1966-67)

Both the list of all conference honors (for both Summit league and NCC) and academic honors for Maverick basketball players would be too overwhelming to list in whole. Some of the more fantastic achievements are the NCC most valuable player award honors given to Dean Thompson in 1984, and Tola Dada in 2004 and the NCC defensive player of the year honors given to Denny Johnston in 2008.

The record for most wins in an individual season goes to the 2008 Mavericks with 25 total wins. The Mavericks also had an impressive win streak of 20 all the way back from 1931-32. Before the Mavericks moved to division 1 they were NCC regular-season champions in ‘79, ‘84, ‘04 and ‘05 and tournament champions ‘79, ‘84, ‘04 and ‘08. All of these seasons, the Mavericks were coached by either Bob Hanson, Derrin Hansen or Kevin McKenna.

The ‘79 team held a 20-9 record with their final victory coming against North Dakota with a 86-75 win. In 84, they went 23-7 and went to the second round of the NCAA Division 2 regionals. 2004 was the first year they won the tournament championships without Bob Hanson as Kevin McKenna led them to the NCAA Division two tournaments. In 2008, they put up their best record ever at 25-7 and Derrin Hansen for the first time won the NCC Tournament Championship.