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

Sports Videos

Join the Discussion

The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service