Juckem receives Jack Bennett award

After leading the UW Oshkosh men’s baseball team to its first championship appearance in program history, head coach Pat Juckem was named the 2018 recipient of the Jack Bennett Man of the Year award by CollegeInsider.com.

This past season marked the third consecutive appearance in the playoffs for the Juckem-led Titans, who had never made it past the round of 16 before this year.

In Juckem’s sixth season at the helm in Oshkosh, he led the team to tie the program best of 25 victories in a season and the team’s first appearance past the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs since 2003.

Juckem, who owns a career record of 95-73 at UWO, inherited a team in 2013 that only won four games the year prior under head coach Ted Van Dellen. Every year besides the 2016-17 season, each team has seen an increase in season victories under Juckem, and there has been an increase of 21 total victories from Juckem’s first year to last season.

Before coming to Oshkosh, Juckem was the head coach at Coe College, where he compiled a career mark of 105-79 from 2006-12.

Juckem also coached at his alma mater, Lawrence University, as both an assistant basketball and football coach from 1999 to 2005 and at Manitowoc Roncalli High School as the boy’s head basketball coach four years prior.

The Jack Bennett Man of the Year award is given out annually to a coach in the NCAA men’s basketball ranks that “represents winning with integrity,” according to the award’s website.

This past season, Juckem helped lead the team to the NCAA tournament by coaching the team to a 19-6 record in the regular season. The team was regularly ranked in the top 25 by D3hoops.com, including being ranked in the top 10 during the team’s undefeated run through its nonconference slate.

In the conference playoffs, the Titans bowed out early as they dropped a semifinal affair to UW-Stevens Point, 71-63. Even with the defeat, UWO earned an at-large bid into the tournament and was one of two Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams to earn a bid into the post season tournament.

Having to travel to Ohio and Illinois for their first four contests, the Titans fed off a solid base of traveling fans to earn single-digit victories in three of its first four playoff games.

Even with losing in the championship game in Virginia, the Titans were able to look back upon the season and realize that Juckem’s leadership was one of the main catalysts for getting them to their final outcome.