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Both Bridgewater Basketball Programs Approaching 1,000 Victories

old black and white pictures of bridgewater basketball with 993 wins for the women and 980 wins for the men

Bridgewater Men's Basketball All-Time Results
Bridgewater Women's Basketball All-Time Results

BRIDGEWATER, Va. -
Bridgewater College has one of the longest traditions of basketball in collegiate sports. The BC men played one of the first known intercollegiate basketball games in the state of Virginia on April 25, 1903 against the Shenandoah Collegiate Institute (then located in nearby Dayton). Bridgewater was also one of the first schools in the region to have a varsity women's squad. Now both programs are approaching a milestone 1,000th all-time victory.

Entering this season, the Bridgewater women had an all-time mark of 984-542-1, dating back to a 24-12 win over Harrisonburg High School on Feb. 16, 1918. The Eagles currently sit at 993 wins after a 9-4 start to their 2018-19 campaign. Only two Division III women's basketball programs are known to have reached the 1,000 win milestone. Elizabethtown College became the first, late in the 2013-14 season, and the University of Scranton joined them during the 2017 NCAA tournament.

Bridgewater has a strong connection to one of those programs, as Yvonne Kauffman '66 led Elizabethtown to 689 of their first 1,000 wins in 42 seasons as head coach. She won national championships with the Blue Jays in 1982 and 1989. Kauffman was on the court for 45 of Bridgewater's victories in four seasons as a student-athlete, and was inducted into the BC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

Jean Willi recently retired from Bridgewater after 21 seasons as head women's basketball coach, where she compiled a mark of 375-191 and made five NCAA tournament appearances. Including four years as a student-athlete and 11 seasons as an assistant for legendary coach Laura Mapp (who totaled 479 victories), Willi has been involved with 594 of the Eagles' wins.

"We were fortunate to have some really good players who took great pride in the program and were always striving for excellence," said Willi.

"It's quite an accomplishment for any college team to get near that milestone. For everyone who has been through the program in one way or another, it's something they should be really proud of."

Meanwhile, the Eagle men entered the 2018-19 campaign with 973 wins and currently sit at 980-1190.

Bill Leatherman coached the Eagle men from 1985 to 2008 and is the winningest coach in program history with a career mark of 336-261. He was a four-time Regional Coach of the Year and led the Eagles to their only ODAC title in 1987-88.

Leatherman pointed out the incredible depth both in the ODAC, and in the Mason-Dixon Conference- where his predecessor Melvin Myers (239 victories) coached.

"With the competition we've had to play, it's impressive to be approaching such a milestone," he said. "It's tough to play some of those schools that have been consistently good for 100 years."

"I'm excited to be a part of it," Leatherman continued. "I had a great 23 years here and I enjoyed every second of it."