HARRIMAN, Tenn. — With just under a minute to go in Walters State's 96-66 win against Roane State, the Lady Senator assistant coaches reached under the visitors bench to pull out a brown envelope. Inside the envelope were sheets of paper. Each piece handed out to each coach and player on the bench. One thing written on them: 1,000.
With the win on Wednesday, Walters State women's basketball head coach Dave Kragel reached a level no one in the history of the National Junior College Athletic Association ever has - winning 1,000 games as a women's basketball head coach.
"It was a while getting here this year because we played some pretty tough people," Kragel joked after the game.
After 43 years as the head basketball coach for the Lady Senators, 15 eastern Division Championships, 19 State Championships, 16 Region VII Championships and 10 TCCAA Conference Championships, one of the biggest moments of his career comes on the road in a gym in Harriman, Tennessee with a little more than 100 people around to celebrate.
"It's great, but I never thought that would ever happen. You know, it's all been because of the players that have played for me, it's not because of me, but it's because of them," Kragel said.
Kragel became the winningest coach in NJCAA women's basketball history last season, passing Central Arizona legend Lin Laursen. Kragel brought up another Tennessee basketball legend, Pat Summitt, after the game.
"I think people around here have heard what Pat Head did when she first started, they do laundry, they do all that stuff all the time and have to drive the buses and everything. Well, junior college, we do that too, but we do it all the time and we don't have five or six assistant coaches. We're doing doing everything to try to make these kids better and that's what junior college basketball is all about."