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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Ben Jacobson tops MVC with 188 wins

Ben Jacobson encourages and coaches his team in the McLeod Center.

On Jan. 20, UNI men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson went on the court to coach the Panthers as he has for 18 years now, but this game was a bit different than the rest.  If he won this game, coach Jacobson would have the most conference wins in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference. In a close game in the McLeod Center, the Panthers came out victorious, giving coach that record breaking win – marking  his 188th conference win.

In regards to how breaking this record win felt, coach Jacobson said, “For a good kind of day and a half or two, you hear from a lot of people, and that part of it was super cool.”

The connections with former players is something that is important to Coach Jacobson, and it is clear that they have a lot of respect for him. He even has two former players Austin Phyfe and Seth Tuttle on his coaching staff right now. 

Coach Jacobson said providing former players opportunities is something he always wants to pursue. “When we have had a player that has wanted to get into coaching, a great way to do that is as a student assistant, as a graduate assistant.” 

He has had a lot of different players take on these roles, and they get to help with a program that has had a lot of success under his coaching. 

Throughout his 18 years with the program, he has had many other great accomplishments to go along with his record breaking 188 conference wins. He has won 347 total games, been the Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year five times, won the conference regular season four times, the conference tournament championship four times, has made it to the NCAA tournament four times and it appears he is not done yet. 

This season the Panthers currently have a 12-11 record, with eight games remaining before the conference tournament. Despite what is currently a three game losing streak, the Panthers have been playing better basketball while in conference play. Coach Jacobson says that defense has played a large part in the team’s success but, 

“We need to find a little more rhythm to what we are doing offensively.” 

This team has had its ups and downs throughout the season, but coach Jacobson believes they are capable of accomplishing great things saying, 

Earlier this year Jacobson coached a game in which the Panthers were leading at halftime against a North Carolina team that is currently ranked third in the nation. Coach Jacobson is confident that this year’s team is capable of doing great things if they play their best version of basketball. 

“Where we can be, is the first half against North Carolina.”

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ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

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