1990s: The decade to forget

03/04/2014 4:01 PM

08/06/2014 10:09 AM

The beginning of the fall into the abyss came on March 4, 1989. It was a Saturday night in Levitt Arena, and after a day of hosting quarterfinal games in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, it was Wichita State’s turn on the court, the second seed hosting seventh-seed Illinois State.

Eddie Fogler’s Shockers delivered a clunker, losing 66-61 and killing any NCAA Tournament at-large chances. Two weeks and a 1-1 NIT record later, Fogler left for Vanderbilt but left assistant Mike Cohen.

The next decade – 115-171 record, one MVC top-half finish, no postseason appearances – can’t be laid at Cohen’s feet. Nor Scott Thompson’s, nor Randy Smithson’s. It was bad decision after bad decision. Recruits that didn’t pan out, mind-boggling losses that made the Shockers seem snake-bit. Anything that could go wrong did.

It’s telling that three of the four talented players of the decade – Jamie Arnold, John Smith and Maurice Evans – didn’t finish their careers as Shockers. All for different reasons, but indicative of the suffering Shocker fans endured. It was a decade when the Shockers couldn’t finish.

Season Overall MVC (Finish) Coach Top scorer
1989-90 10-19 8-8 (T5th) Mike Cohen John Cooper (17.0)
1990-91 14-17 7-9 (8th) Mike Cohen Paul Guffrovich (15.8)
1991-92 8-20 6-12 (T7th) Mike Cohen John Smith (12.8)
1992-93 10-17 7-11 (T7th) Scott Thompson Jimmy Bolden (13.4)
1993-94 9-18 6-12 (T7th) Scott Thompson Jamie Arnold (11.7)
1994-95 13-14 6-12 (8th) Scott Thompson L.D. Swanson (14.6)
1995-96 8-21 4-14 (T10th) Scott Thompson Marvin Hill (13.1)
1996-97 14-13 8-10 (7th) Randy Smithson Jamie Arnold (15.0)
1997-98 16-15 11-7 (3rd) Randy Smithson Jason Perez (13.5)
1998-99 13-17 6-12 (T8th) Randy Smithson Maurice Evans (22.6)
Player Ht. Pos.
Jamie Arnold 6-10 C
Larry Callis 6-8 F
Maurice Evans 6-5 G
Jason Perez 6-4 G
L.D. Swanson 6-2 G
Off the bench
Jimmy Bolden 6-3 G
Robert George 6-0 G
Terry Hankton 5-11 G
Claudius Johnson 6-6 F
Darin Miller 6-9 F
John Smith 6-8 C

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