GLENVILLE, W.Va. – The success of the Glenville State women’s basketball program, which dates all the way back to 1914, is well documented. And since the program was officially recognized by the NCAA, it has been incredibly successful.
So successful, in fact, that a book has been written to piece together the history of the Lady Pioneers’, appropriately titled, “A History of Excellence”.
“We wanted to get this one because of the history and the run that Coach (Kim) Stephens and her program is on right now and we felt like that would be appropriate to celebrate what they’ve done and all of the teams that came before them,” said Glenville State Athletic Director, Jesse Skiles.
Skiles began the process of putting together the history of the Lady Pioneers two years ago, but with the COVID-19 pandemic practically shutting down collegiate athletics for much of last year, he kicked the research into high gear.
“I would give them a couple years of seasons, and season stories, and within a day … Jonathan had it on a page, and Jason had some supplementing articles to put on it,” said Skiles when asked about the process of putting the book together.
Skiles had help from Pioneers Sports Information Director, Jonathan Griffin, and others within the athletics office.
The book not only provides thousands of statistics from 1975 through last season, but also, statistically, shows the evolution of the game and of the program.
“Somebody may be on an all-time list but well down, and you don’t realize how great they were because the game has changed,” said Skiles. “Particularly, the women’s game has changed a lot from the 70s and 80s, so we decided to not only do an all-time list, but do an all-time list decade. I think it gives more of how somebody dominated their era, because I think it gets lost sometimes in today’s sports world.”
As part of my conversation with Skiles earlier this week, I ask the question: Now that you’ve done all of this research, you put this book together, can you definitively say, is there a best team in Glenville State women’s basketball history?
His answer: it’s tough to say.
“It’s really close. I mean, that’s a big debate in the city of Glenville,” Skiles said with a laugh. “I think Coach Stephens’ team two years ago, that ’19 team, and coach Harold’s 2007 team (are the best).”
The ’07 team played to a 33-3 record, claimed another WVIAC championship, and made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. They outscored opponents by 21.2 points per game and shot 45.7 percent from the floor.
Stephens’ 2019 team went 30-3, claimed an MEC title, but bowed out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers outscored teams by 24.1 points per contest, shot 41.2 percent from the floor, but made 442 3-pointers — the most in program history.
And if you don’t believe him, there are more than 250 pages that will help you decide for yourself.
If you would like to get a copy of the book, “A History of Excellence”, contact the Glenville State athletics department.