Warhawk Almanac: The 40th Anniversary of the 1984 Men’s Basketball Championship

This post was written by Jacob Ober.

In March 1984, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Men’s Basketball team emerged victorious in the Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament after defeating Clark (MA) University 103-86 in the National Championship game. The road to the championship for the 1984 Warhawks was not easy, as they had to win four straight games against tough competition to make it to the final round. Among those victories was a triple-overtime win described as “what could be one of the most exciting wins in Warhawks history.”[1] In the Regional Championship against eight-ranked St. Norbert College, team-leading scorer Andre McKoy knocked down a jumper with five seconds left to give the Warhawks an 85-83 lead in a game that would finish 87-84 in UW-Whitewater’s favor.

Andre McKoy, post-champtioship game
UW-Whitewater leading scorer Andre McKoy meets with an ESPN reporter after his iconic performance in national championship game.[2]

The Warhawks had made it to the Final Four the previous season before falling to Wittenberg University 85-80 in the national semifinal and Roanoke College 83-77 in the third-place game. A  controversial call marred the loss to Roanoke when UW-Whitewater sophomore center Mark Linde was called for a questionable foul with 17 seconds to go and Whitewater trailing 79-77.[3] Reflecting on the disappointing losses, junior guard Anthony Brazzel stated that their season “will be hard to duplicate,” but “now we know what it’s like to play in the national tournament, and hopefully, we’ll be back. There’s no substitute for experience.”[4]

Center, Mark Linde
Senior Warhawk center Mark Linde celebrates the ultimate success of winning a national championship.[5]

Brazzel’s hope for the following season was not unfounded, as the 1984 Warhawks finished the regular season by clinching a share of their conference title and earning a second consecutive national tournament berth. Led by leading scorer Andre McKoy and returning veterans Anthony Brazzel and Mark Linde, the Warhawks rode four straight wins against Illinois Wesleyan (75-67), St Norbert College (87-84), Nebraska Wesleyan (65-54), and DePauw (85-69) before facing Clark University in the national championship. In the championship game, a slim 46-43 halftime lead turned into a lopsided 103-86 victory for the Warhawks, clinching their first-ever national championship in men’s basketball. McKoy and Linde made the all-tournament team, with McKoy leaving as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. This award was well-deserved, as McKoy set a record for most points (145) and free throws made (45) in a five-game tournament stretch.[6] Coach Dave Vander Mullen described the victory as “the greatest feeling in the world. Being a champion is one thing, but being a national champion is something you dream of as a little kid.”[7]

Members of 1984 Championship Team
The 1984 team poses with the championship trophy.[8]

The 1984 men’s basketball team was UW-Whitewater’s first-ever national championship team. Since then, UW-Whitewater has seen 19 other championships across other sports, including three more men’s basketball titles in 1989, 2012, and 2014.[9] Whenever we reflect on our college’s storied history of champions, we must never forget the 1984 team as the one that set the precedent for success.

[1] Randy Ruef, “Warhawks Survive to Quarterfinals,” The Royal Purple (Whitewater), March 7. 1984.

[2] UW-Whitewater, 1984 Minneiska. 1984, 108, https://jstor.org/stable/community.30477057. Accessed November 7, 2023.

[3] Dave White, “Warhawks End Season on a Disappointing Note,” The Royal Purple (Whitewater), March 23, 1983.

[4] Ibid.

[5] UW-Whitewater, 1984 Minneiska, 1984, 108, https://jstor.org/stable/community.30477057.

[6] Randy Ruef, “Oh Yeah! Warhawks Best in the Nation,” The Royal Purple, March 21, 1984.

[7] Ibid.

[8] UW-Whitewater, 1984 Minneiska. 1984, 108, https://jstor.org/stable/community.30477057. Accessed November 7, 2023.

[9] “National Champions,” UWWSports.com, https://uwwsports.com/sports/2012/3/27/GEN_0327122239.aspx#1989%20Men’s%20Basketball

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