The UW-Rock County men’s basketball team made the news for all the wrong reasons this week.
The two-year university has struggled to keep its sports programs going. After several seasons of fielding a women’s basketball team, the women’s program was dropped this year.
Students who attend UW-Rock County often have to work to help finance their schooling and don’t have time to commit to practices, games and the often long bus rides to games at other two-year schools around the state.
The men’s basketball team is in first place in the Wisconsin Collegiate College West Division. The team’s coach, Jamal Mosley, was inconsistent in reporting the team’s scores to The Gazette. When he did call, it was often near midnight.
Then an incident occurred Wednesday after the Rattlers’ game at UW-Waukesha. Details of the incident have not been released, but a game referee suffered an eye injury after the game.
Mosley was placed on administrative leave by UW-Rock County.
The action was reported in the news section of Friday’s Gazette.
Grant McNall, UW-Rock County athletic director, had to bow his head when he first was told about the incident. He then saw his school’s name on the national news.
“The Washington Post had ran it on their national wire,” McNall said Saturday.
Forgotten in the incident and ensuing wave of attention was the team.
Suddenly, the group of guys that spends many hours a week practicing, playing and riding buses had no coach.
McNall, who coached the Rattlers’ soccer team for several seasons, stepped in Saturday.
And the Rattlers won their home game 113-81 against UW-Manitowoc.
David Harper had 30 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the game. Twenty-one points came in the second half.
Brandon Alexander had 26 points and seven rebounds.
Ben McDonald added 17 points.
But Saturday’s game was more about the team than the individuals.
“They really needed a win coming off a lot of adversity,” McNall said. “They won as a team.”
McNall was proud of the team holding Manitowoc’s Rudy Montoya to 11 points, less than half of his season average of 23.
And he was proud of the defense adjusting to some early 3-point shooting success by Manitowoc by holding the visitors to one after that.
McNall does not plan to coach the Rattlers for the remainder of the season. He is working on hiring another coach to come in to complete the season—which has been a success thus far.
“Our goal is to maintain our season,” McNall said.
The first step happened Saturday.
On Monday, the team hits the road for the four-hour trip to UW-Marinette—and ensuing four-hour trip back home.
Their season, indeed, will continue.
There won’t be any national news story on that.
Tom Miller is a sports writer/page designer for The Gazette