By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
They’ve earned it.
A recognition ceremony for the William Penn University Men’s Basketball team was held Thursday in the William Penn University Gymnasium. The event, sponsored by the university and the William Penn Booster Club, recognized the team’s 2012-13 season, which is the best in the program’s history. The team would eventually earn the NAIA National Runner-Up after their 4 and 1 performance when competing in the championship tournament in Point Lookout, Mo.
Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt was among those speaking at Thursday’s event honoring the Penn Men’s Basketball team. He presented a proclamation recognizing March 21, 2013, as William Penn University Men’s Basketball Team Day in Oskaloosa as Penn Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Henry and Penn Athletic Director Greg Hafner looked on.
Henry also spoke at Thursday’s event.
Henry said he felt a lot of pride and love from those who traveled to Missouri for the games.
This season has been “quite a ride,” according to Henry.
“To win 34 games in a season is unreal,” said Henry.
During his speech, Henry pointed to what he called the standard by which all Penn athletics are measured — that being the 1981 National Champion Women’s Basketball team who won 43 games in a single season.
Henry expressed appreciation for all the positive feedback he’s received from people regarding his team’s performance.
“Thank you to everybody,” said Henry.
What it takes to be a champion was also on Henry’s mind during Thursday’s event in the Penn Gym.
“It takes a large group of people willing to do whatever,” said Henry. “That’s what these guys did from day one.”
As the team practiced this past season, Henry said he sat down with them on two occasions to let them know, “only we can stop us.”
“I just remember saying, ‘The sky’s the limit. We can literally win the national championship.’”
Henry also addressed two questions that he said keep coming up. The first question — is he going to leave Penn for another coaching job? He assured the audience he had no plans to leave Penn.
“This is the best job for me,” Henry said. “This is the only job I ever wanted. This is the place for me.”
The second question — are they going to do this next year?
“Obviously, going 34 and 2 is a dream season and doesn’t happen every day,” said Henry, adding that they’d “stay as competitive as possible.”
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.