CULLOWHEE, N.C. - The Western Carolina Department of Athletics has announced it will host a reunion celebration for the 1995-96 men's basketball team which won the 1996 Southern Conference Tournament and nearly became the first 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history to upset a number one seed as they fell to Purdue in 73-71.
The reunion celebration will take place at the basketball doubleheader on Saturday, Jan. 23 as the women take on Wofford at 2 pm and the men face Mercer at 4:30 pm.
The 2015-16 season marks the 20th anniversary of the historic run by the Catamounts who won the Southern Conference South Division - the school's first conference title of any type in its 19 years of membership in the SoCon - and went on to down Davidson in the Southern Conference Tournament championship game.
The WCU team finished with a 17-13 overall record and was 10-4 in conference play. Head coach Phil Hopkins led the team with assistants Thad Matta, Orlando Early and Brett Lamb. The team featured 12 Catamounts led by captains Kevin Kullum, Anquell McCollum and Scott Scholtz.
The season started out rough as the Catamounts won just one of their opening eight games including a 60-58 set-back to NCAA Division II member, Coker. With many fans doubting their potential, the team banded together and went on a stretch in which they won 14 of 16 games including seven-in-a-row to claim the tournament championship. A 69-60 victory over Davidson in the championship game avenged a 98-85 regular season set-back, snapped a 19-game Davidson win streak, and gave the Wildcats just their fourth loss of the season.
A full weekend of events is scheduled for the team and will feature the 1995-96 team visiting the current Catamounts' practice Friday afternoon followed by a private social gathering for the former Catamounts Friday night presented by Coach's Bistro in Dillsboro. Saturday, the team will honored at halftime of the men's game versus Mercer following the women's game against Wofford. A postgame reception, which all fans are invited to attend, at Tuck's Tap and Grille will follow the doubleheader.
For questions about the reunion celebration contact Brandon Hodgins of the Catamount Club at firstname.lastname@example.org. For tickets to the doubleheader, simply log onto www.catamountsports.com and click on the tickets tab or call 1-800-34-GOWCU.
1995-96 Catamount Basketball Reunion CelebrationFriday, January 22:
6:30 pm: Players, Coaches and Invited Staff, Social at Coaches in Dillsboro (invitation only)
7:00 pm: Players, Coaches and Invited Staff, Dinner at the Jarrett House in Dillsboro (invitation only)
Saturday, January 23:
2:00 pm: Catamount Women's Basketball vs Wofford, Ramsey Center
End of Women's game: Purple Zone Tailgate on Concourse with WCU Catamount Club Members
4:30 pm:Catamount Men's Basketball vs Mercer at the Ramsey Center
Halftime: 1995-96 WCU Men's Basketball Team Honored on the Court
End of game: Post-game social at Tucks Tap and Grille (open to the public)
Confirmed Guest List:#13 - Kevin Kullum
#24 - Anquell McCollum
#25 - Jarvis Graham
#32 - Joe Stafford
#33 - Kerry Wright
#34 - Joey Bryson
#44 - Scott Scholtz
Head Coach Phil Hopkins
Assistant Coach Brett Lamb
Alex Smith - Student Manager
Kirk Macemore - Student Manager
Martin Unger - Student Manager
Steve White - Administrator