I’d like to open my first Bearcat Blog by introducing our new head men’s basketball coach Ben McCollum – the man in charge of leading the next chapter of Bearcat basketball. Coach McCollum inherits a program that since 2000 has enjoyed seven 20-win seasons, two MIAA championships, two MIAA tournament titles and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2002 and 2004.
Coach McCollum was a member of the 2001-02 Elite Eight team and roamed the sidelines as a graduate assistant for the 2003-04 Elite Eight team. He’ll continue to preach hard work, unselfishness, mental toughness and character – the staples of a program headed by Steve Tappmeyer for more than two decades.
I’ve personally known Ben for seven years and I’m a witness to his grinding work ethic, competitive spirit and energy he arrives and departs with daily. I’ve seen how much he truly cares for the athletes he coaches and everyone involved in our athletics department.
Coach Mac spent the previous four seasons at Emporia State working for Coach David Moe (son of NBA coaching legend Doug Moe). Ben had the chance to learn a different style of play under a coach with more connections than a Southwest Airlines Flight. Coach Mac learned from one of the best on how to successfully run “passing game” or motion offense.
Blend that with four years at Northwest (two as a player and two as a coach) under a great mentor in Tappmeyer and I believe he is the right person to lead our program. He epitomizes the phrase, “Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.”
Ben’s familiarity with the MIAA is a huge bonus. He’s scouted every team in our league countless times and knows what it takes to be a winner. Our program continues to recruit high-character kids that we feel will be successful on and off the basketball court. That’s what Coach McCollum will bring in and blend this year and into the future.
I’d like to say hello to all of our fans and our Center Court Cat Club members who’ve meant so much to our success! Please feel free to stop by our offices or contact us here as the summer winds down.
Finally, our Bearcat Family would like to congratulate former Bearcat great Scott Fleming and his wife, Traci, on the birth of their first son, Mason, last Monday. Mason is already blinking on the Cat radar. Look for him to be an impact freshman for the 2027 season. We are all very happy for you!!
Good luck to all the fall sports officially underway with practices!