Thirty-six years after a successful season, the Bethel College Booster Club inducted members of the 1972-73 basketball team in the college’s hall of fame during a pre-game program Saturday before the Bethel College homecoming football game.
In an era with no 3-point line, no shot clock, and no dunking allowed, and when players wore basketball shorts that were actually shorts, this Bethel College team won the KCAC with a 15-1 record. The Thresher team broke the 100-point barrier multiple times — quite a fete in an era before 3-point shots.
In the Mennonite Classics, the Threshers set a new record for the most points scored in a champion game — 96 — and became the first team to win three of the classics to retire the trophy.
At that time, Washburn University, the College of Emporia, and Pittsburg and Fort Hays state universities were in the NAIA.
The team won the first game in the regional tournament against the College of Emporia. A huge underdog in the playoff game, the Threshers surprised fans at Emporia with a 3-point win but then lost to the nationally ranked Marymount team from Salina.
Five members of the championship team live and work in Marion County. Jim Robb, dominating post-player, teaches social studies at Hillsboro High School. Wes Schmidt-Tieszen also teaches social studies but at Goessel High School. Brian Stucky lives in Goessel and teaches art and photography at GHS. Kim Unruh farms southwest of Marion. Delbert Peters lives in rural Hillsboro and works at Cooperative Grain & Supply in Hillsboro.
Other members of the team were Danny Zerger, Rod Wedel, Fred Loganbill, Maynard Stuck, Ron Blanton, Dave Northrup, Clint Okeson, Greg Schmidt, and Greg Zerger.
Bob Fairbanks was the head coach and Buck Shiltz was assistant coach.