Men's Basketball | Friday, November 12, 2010
Willamette to Dedicate Gordie James Court on Saturday, Nov. 20
SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University Athletics Department will dedicate the gym floor in Cone Field House to former men's basketball Head Coach Gordie James on Saturday, Nov. 20. A ceremony dedicating the floor will take place during halftime of the men's game against Northwest Christian University. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (PST).
The evening will begin with the Willamette women's basketball team taking on Northwest Christian at 5 p.m. (PST).
James achieved a record of 357-230 (.608) during his 22 years with the Bearcats. He led Willamette to 16 winning seasons, including six Northwest Conference titles. The 1992-93 Willamette team won the NAIA Division II National Championship with a 29-4 overall record, matching WU’s 1938-39 team (29-6) for the most wins in school history. The 1992-93 title remains Willamette’s only varsity team national championship.
James was named NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1992-93. He was selected Northwest Conference Coach of the Year four times. He handled the transition of the Willamette men's basketball team from NAIA status into NCAA Division III, where the Bearcats have competed since the 1998-99 season.
His first team at Willamette in 1987-88 went undefeated in the NWC at 10-0. It was the first team to go undefeated in the conference since the College of Idaho (no longer a member) went 15-0 in 1954-55.
James was highly respected, both on campus and among other basketball coaches. He also was popular with Willamette students and fans. It was not unusual for him to walk across the basketball court and spend a few moments in the student section following a key victory. One of James' former players and assistant coaches, Kip Ioane, is now the head coach of the Bearcats.