Griffon basketball returns; men reclaim national spotlight

The 2020-21 basketball seasons began as scheduled, with MIAA-only contests slated for the season. First-year head coach Will Martin, who took over the program in March after the departure of Sundance Wicks, has guided the Griffon men’s return to prominence.

The Griffons, who finished the 2019-20 season with their first winning season in a decade, closed the 2020 calendar year with a 5-1 record, their best MIAA start in 22 years. The program also earned its first national ranking since 2002, when they debuted at #19 in the NABC Division II poll in mid-December.

The Griffon women, coming off a 21-8 record in 2019-20 in Coach Candi Whitaker’s first year at the helm, entered the 2020-21 season with a drastic youth movement and a roster consisting of 12 new players, including six freshmen.

Other sports return in 2021

If 2020 taught us to never take anything for granted, 2021 should provide a follow-up lesson in gratitude. 

All Griffon sports programs are slated to return in some form or fashion this spring, including soccer, volleyball, track, golf, tennis, baseball and softball. 2021 will also mark the debut of the Griffon women’s lacrosse program. Missouri Western is the first public institution in the state to field a lacrosse team.