We kind of take for granted the successful athletic programs at Minnesota State.
If you’re a Mavericks fans, attending a game at the home arena or field, there’s a decent chance you’re team is going to win. In the last five seasons, Minnesota State teams, all 20 of them, are 1,029-586-48, a winning percentage of 64.3% according to associate athletic director Paul Allan.
That’s a nice number for any team over a five-year period, let alone an entire program.
Allan came up with some other impressive numbers in his research project. Minnesota State has won 27 team championships and 123 individual championships in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference or Western Conference Hockey Association. Minnesota State has had 29 conference coaches of the year, not surprising with that much team success.
The 2017 softball team won a national championship, and there have been seven national champions in men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field: hurdler Myles Hunter (3 times), thrower Chris Reed (2), sprinter Emmanuel Matadi (2), triple-jumper Michael Sandle (2), sprinter Altoniece Williams and high-jumper Khadiya Hollingsworth.
Last season, the football team played in the national championship game, while the women’s soccer team made it to the national quarterfinals. The men’s hockey team had a chance for its first NCAA-tournament victory, perhaps followed by a nice postseason run, this season had COVID-19 not stymied the Mavericks like a red-hot goaltender.
Minnesota State teams have been good enough to earn homefield advantage in NCAA tournament games. Despite the embarrassment of Blakeslee Stadium, the NCAA makes frequent trips to Mankato each fall for championship games. The women’s soccer team hosted an NCAA tournament game last season in the new sports bubble, which will likely attract even more postseason play in the future. The softball team was tough at home in the 2017 championship run.
The Mavericks are also doing quite well in the classroom. In this span, Minnesota State has had 947 all-academic awards, with 20 academic All-Americans and four post-graduate scholarship recipients. The entire department posted a 3.24 grade-point average for the 2019 fall semester.
The only downer in Allan’s findings were that 722,338 fans have attended men’s hockey, football and men’s basketball games in the last five seasons, which sound like a lot. But given the success of those three programs over that time, there should have been a lot more people in the seats.
That’s an age-old problem for Minnesota State, which given the financial uncertainty of the next several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public’s support will be more important in the future, whatever that may look like.
During this break, ponder all the success and excitement you’ve seen at Minnesota State athletic events. Now, wonder how much more fun you can have by attending more events.
Chad Courrier is the Free Press sports editor. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.