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The Last Word

100 Seasons of Men’s Basketball
by Dave Walberg, Albright Sports Information Director

When Charles “Pop” Kelchner led the first intercollegiate men’s basketball team onto the court in 1900, he didn’t care so much about winning games. Kelchner cared about building character in men, a fundamental Christian concern that has been at the root of the program ever since.

Today, 100 seasons later (the College didn’t put up a team every year) with more than 2,000 games played, and under the leadership of Head Coach Rick Ferry, the men’s basketball team continues to thrive. In fact, over the last five years, the Lions have found themselves in four post-season tournaments, managing two tournament championships and an appearance on the national stage.

That inaugural season in 1900-1901 certainly was a tough one for the Lions, though. The team lost every game that season. But Kelchner didn’t let the outcome of the season affect him. He went ahead and scheduled games the following season with some heavy competition: the Carlisle Indians, Susquehanna University, Ursinus, Bucknell, Lafayette and Franklin and Marshall College.

Always an optimist and dedicated to leading his team, Kelchner remained at the helm of the Lions for nearly 20 years, establishing a foundation on which the men’s basketball program has been built ever since.

A laundry list of memorable characters have both led teams and played on the Albright courts.

In 1955, Albright Hall of Famer Will Renken took over the Lions. In a career that lasted more than 30 seasons, Renken put together one of the most impressive coach’s resumes ever at Albright. Included in that resume were 492 victories, numerous conference and national honors, and a team record season of 23-7 in the 1979-1980 season. Renken also coached many of the players who helped guide the Lions to some of the most memorable seasons in program history.

Tom Pearsall ’63 still holds the career-scoring record with a total of 2,164 points, and John Scholl’69 ended his career as one of the greatest offensive players to ever wear the Red and White uniform. Scholl has
continued to generously support the Lions program.

Looking further down the road, in 1980 Bill Carey ‘80 helped guide the Albright men’s basketball team to the “Elite 8” of the NCAA Championship tournament and eventually went on to end his career
as one of the program’s top career scorers. Coach Ferry has kept the
longstanding tradition of Lions basketball alive by bringing in
athletes who epitomize what it means to not only be a solid student-athlete,
but an outstanding citizen as well.

Today the legacy of the Albright College men’s basketball program is
continued by a new group of players who have dedicated themselves
to carrying on the tradition that is Lions basketball. Senior Phil Hall ’09
is among those players who have exemplified what it means to be a
part of this historic program.

Throughout his time with the Lions, Hall has used his size
and strength to lead the men’s basketball team to new
heights. Throughout his time at Albright, Coach Ferry
has demanded the very best from each of his players.
He expects them to exemplify what it means to be a
student-athlete at Albright College both on and
off the court.

Over the last eight seasons, Ferry and his teams
have been adding a new and very successful chapter
to this historic program, and look to the next 100 seasons!


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