If you are new to the College of Mount St. Joseph, you may think the basketball team has always had great success. If this is your thinking, then you couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is head coach Toby Carrigan’s third year at the helm and the recent success has been credited to him along with assistant coach Justin Ray.
This season the Mount St. Joseph men’s basketball team is trying to do something that hasn’t been accomplished in the history of the program: win the conference title outright. The team is currently in a four-way tie for first place with Defiance College, Hanover College and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, all boasting a 7-2 conference record.
As a four year starter, senior forward David Mann knows the struggles the team went through with the former management. “Looking back, I have no idea how we even had a basketball team stick around that long with all of the adversity we faced,” Mann said. “But now that the program has turned for the better, basketball is starting to be really fun again. It has been a while since I’ve won this many game on a team.”
Mann played one year under the former coach when the team went a miserable 7-18 overall season with a conference record of 5-13. So this year, Mann is enjoying the success that the team is having.
Speaking of success, assistant coach Justin Ray is no stranger to it. A standout player at Division II Christian Brothers University, Ray is in his third year coaching at the Mount. When asked what changes he has seen in his three years here he said, “The structure of the program has really changed.”
“There has been a real change of culture in the program. We have also got the older players to buy in which will help the younger ones buy in as well.”
Ray sees nothing but success in the future. “We want to be at the top of the league in the next few years,” he said. “We want to compete and of course do what every other college team wants to do, compete in the national tournament.”
The men’s team has nine games remaining in the regular season—all conference games—three of which are games against teams they are currently tied with for first place in the conference.
The last game of the season is quickly approaching. It will be on Feb. 22 and is at home, in the Harrington Center gym, against Anderson University.
The Feb. 22 game will be senior night for the lone senior on the team—Mann will be walking across the court for his final home game as a Mount Lion
For the full men’s basketball schedule and other information about athletics, visit msjsports.com, and be sure to stop by one of the men’s basketball games this season and catch them in action.