IPFW guard Bryson Scott, center, celebrates with teammates after the Mastodons upset Indiana. “It’s kind of the cool thing that sports does; it brings a lot of people together,” IPFW athletic director Kelley Hartley Hutton said after the win.
November 24, 2016 1:02 AM
After win, perks pour in
Beating No. 3 Indiana puts IPFW in national spotlight
Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette
IPFW men’s basketball coach Jon Coffman had to put his phone on silent Tuesday night as he tried to get some sleep after the Mastodons’ 71-68 overtime win over No. 3 Indiana at Memorial Coliseum.
At one point, almost 400 text messages had been left unread as Coffman fielded interview requests from ESPN and other national media outlets.
“I have about 360 texts that I haven’t returned yet and that’s the sort of exposure that you can get,” Coffman said. “ ‘Mike and Mike’ this morning, they did a 10-minute segment on what a Mastodon is. We have the best mascot in America. If we can get it out there, it’s phenomenal. I’m sure that our gear store will go up, our admissions will go up, the factors that go in after exposure like that because people just know who you are.”
IPFW’s John Konchar stole an in-bound pass with less than 3 seconds remaining and threw it up in the air as the horn sounded. Meanwhile, Coffman’s thoughts were with his wife.
“We’ve played in a lot of games of that caliber and they’re hard to win,” he said. “I think the next-biggest win was when we beat Georgia when I was at Stetson. Coming out on the short end of the stick a lot, at Charleston we lost to North Carolina at the buzzer by three. I know my wife and my family give up a lot for this. I thought of them and it was awesome that they were able to come over to the interview (with Big Ten Network) with me.
“I was able to hold my son, my daughter was in the background, it seems like there’s a lot of sexy perks to being a Division I head coach, but you miss a lot of family time, events, quality time, that was the first thought in my mind.”
More than 11,000 people filled the stands at Memorial Coliseum to watch the Hoosiers play in the Summit City for the first time since 1967 and watch the Mastodons defeat an Associated Press-ranked team for the first time in program history.
“People were really emotional about this,” IPFW athletic director Kelley Hartley Hutton said. “It’s kind of the cool thing that sports does; it brings a lot of people together.
“It’s sort of legitimizes a lot of effort and the tough years when we transitioned from Division II to Division I, the years we were independent, we spent a lot of time on the road.”
Coffman is adamant that Indiana coach Tom Crean bringing his Hoosiers to the Coliseum was a win for the community regardless of the outcome of the game.
“It was a win before the game for our city and our university,” Coffman said. “That’s what Division I athletics does for universities. It’s a front door to your admissions office and university, it puts you on the map. I talked last year, we spent 30,000 miles on the road last year. It was a barnstorming tour of building the brand of IPFW and Fort Wayne.
“It sure was fun watching these guys all run out there in center court, students and our university grows, I think that Division I athletics is a big part of that. I think we’re going to see a following from this. A ripple effect.”