I’m watching the Midwest basketball teams with special interest this season — and not just because I’m an MHS alumnus.

So far this season, the Midwest teams are a combined 1-33 — 1-15 for the girls and 0-18 for the boys. Right now, the only thing keeping the Midwest teams from being officially 0-fer is the girls’ forfeit victory against Guernsey back in December, a victory that was retroactively added within the last couple weeks for reasons beyond me.

That one forfeit victory could keep the Midwest teams from joining a short list — when both the boys and girls basketball teams from the same school go winless in the same year.

The only verified instance I can find of both the boys and girls basketball teams from the same school going winless in the same season happened 21 years ago, in 1999.

That year, Hulett’s boys and girls basketball teams both went 0-15.

(If that game total seems low to you, it is. Back in the day, Crook County schools played fewer than the maximum allowed by the WHSAA due to budget restrictions.)

Hulett’s struggles in 1999 were a combination of two factors — a classification change and a dip in momentum for both programs.

The Hulett boys notched a state title game appearance in 1995, and the Red Devils also had state qualifications at 1A in 1996 and 1997, but the move to 2A was tough to handle. In 1998, the 2A Red Devils only had two victories, both against 1A Midwest. (And, yes, I played for Midwest that season.) The following year, the Red Devils had that winless 0-15 campaign, and after moving back to 1A in 2000, Hulett finished 1-15.

The Hulett girls, meanwhile, had only been to the state tournament once before they moved to 2A in 1998. They also struggled moving up a class, finishing 1-16 in 1998 before their 0-15 season in 1999.

The troubles didn’t last.

In 2002, the Red Devil girls took home their first state basketball trophy with a 1A consolation championship, and they finished third at state in 2003. And in 2005, the Red Devil boys played in the 1A state championship game.

So, Midwest, take heart.

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Is Hulett alone?

Maybe. But I don’t have all the data I need to know for sure.

I’ve found five four other instances of teams finishing with winless seasons where I don’t know the record of the opposite gender at the same school, but I know the opposite gender didn’t qualify for state. Those are Greybull in 1980 (boys 0-18, girls unknown), Greybull in 1984 (boys winless, girls unknown), Green River in 1980 (girls 0-20, boys unknown) and Medicine Bow in 1980 (boys 0-17, girls unknown).

By the way, this is also an opportunity to let you know that I could use your help in tracking down records to plug into wyoming-basketball.com’s annual season records lists. If you know any information that’s missing from these lists, email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

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Postscript: You want to know the other one, too, don’t you? Where both the boys and girls teams went unbeaten in the same season? That list is double the length of the winless list: Mountain View, 1977, and Snake River, 2012. And it’s not being added to in 2020.

–patrick

Post updated 7:44 a.m. Feb. 21 to remove a pairing of teams from the list of possible double 0-fers.

A new season recap — the 1942-43 Wyoming high school basketball season — has been added to the Season Recaps area of wyoming-basketball.com. “Stat Rat” Jim Craig’s research on this year is full of interesting pieces of information from one of the most difficult years of basketball in the state. Check it out!

–patrick

Ever since Natrona’s old gym was brought down, I’ve wondered what the oldest gym in the state is now. I’m also curious to officially pin down the largest (and smallest) gym in the state.

So I restarted a project: finding the ages and capacities of each gym in the state. Here’s what I have so far. If you know any missing info, leave a comment here or email pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Sister site wyoming-basketball.com has added a new area to its site: season recaps. Some of the season recaps that were previously posted on this blog have been moved to this area of that site. See the info below for all the details.

–patrick

The 1943 NCAA champion Wyoming Cowboy basketball team had 15 members. Of those 15, six became head high school football coaches in Wyoming — an amazing ratio considering the total number of former UW basketball players to end up as head football coaches in the state.

The members of the 1943 national champs who went on to be head football coaches in the state were:

  • Vernon Jensen, of Lyman, was the head football coach at Lyman from 1948-51, going 10-9.
  • Antone “Tony” Katana, of Rock Springs, was the head football coach at Superior from 1948-53, going 26-24.
  • Earl “Shadow” Ray, of Casper, was the head football coach at Midwest in 1944, going 4-4.
  • Kenny Sailors, of Laramie via Hillsdale, was the head football coach at University Prep in 1942, going 0-1.
  • Jim Weir, of Green River, was the head football coach at Green River from 1947-52, going 38-18-3.
  • Donald Waite, of Scottsbluff, Neb., was the head football coach at Huntley in 1967, going 1-9.

Katana and Weir faced each other nine times while the coaches at their respective schools from 1948-51; Weir’s Wolves went 7-2 against Katana’s Dragons, with the biggest win a conference championship tiebreaker game in 1950 that helped propel Green River to the Class A title that year.

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Not all of the 15 members of the 1943 team lettered for the Cowboys that season. In all, though, 18 more Cowboy basketball lettermen beyond those on the 1943 team ended up as head football coaches in the state. However, it’s been a while since a Cowboy basketball player ended up as a head football coach; the last to do so was Ralph Winland, who lettered for the Cowboy basketball team 48 years ago, in 1968. Reverse chronologically by last letter date, they were:

  • Ralph Winland (lettered 1968, coach Cowley 1976, North Big Horn 1977-78)
  • Mike Harris (lettered 1961, coach Riverton 1974)
  • Nick Eliopulos (lettered 1952-54-55, coach Basin 1956)
  • Morris Samuelson (lettered 1950-51-52, coach Evanston 1956-57)
  • Robert Porter (lettered 1945-46, coach Shoshoni 1947-49)
  • Warren Capellen (lettered 1945, coach Pinedale 1950-54 and Kemmerer 1955-58)
  • Bill Strannigan (lettered 1941-42, coach University Prep 1941)
  • Jack Smith (lettered 1940-41, coach Reliance 1946-54)
  • George Dorrington (lettered 1938-39-40, coach Hanna 1950-52, Gillette 1953-60)
  • Lew Young (lettered 1936-38-39, coach Lingle 1942, Gillette 1944-46)
  • Willard West (lettered 1932-33-34-35, coach Green River 1935-37, Thermopolis 1938-40 and 1945)
  • Joe Schwartz (lettered 1930-31-32-33, coach Rawlins 1942-43, Natrona 1944-46, Rawlins 1949-52)
  • Jim Jiacoletti (lettered 1928-29-30, coach Superior 1932-36, Kemmerer 1937-42)
  • Robert Outsen (lettered 1926-27-28-29, coach Shoshoni 1932-33)
  • Oscar Erickson (lettered 1924-25-26-27, coach Sheridan 1929-31)
  • Don Harkins (lettered 1926-27, coach University Prep 1929)
  • Fred Layman (lettered 1918-19-20-21, coach Natrona 1925)
  • Andrew Willis (lettered 1915-16-17, coach Cowley 1921-23 and 1925, Lovell 1927-28)

The number of former Cowboy football lettermen who ended up as head football coaches in the state is much higher; that will be detailed in a future post.

–patrick

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