USD Men's Basketball 2001-2002

Cho.n1pionship ln1po.cts first Time's aCharm Despite playing on four Super Bowl runner-up teams with the BuffaloBills, Petemetzelaars celebrated championship glory on the hardwood at Wabash College By Michael Carey Y ou would think that someone who played in four Super Bowls would have a tough

time coming up with his most memorable moment in sports. Pete Metzelaars doesn't really have a problem coming up with one. It happened 20 years ago in Wabash, Indiana. Prior to playing 16 years in the National Football League, most of it with the Buffalo Bills, Metzelaars spent four years at Wabash College, a small Division III school. Metzelaars' professional football career included many great achieve– ments. He set an NFL all-time record for the most games every played by a tight end, was an alternate on two Pro Bowl teams, had a streak of 169 straight games played from 1984-95 and caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXVI

Pete Metzelaars proudly holds the No. 10 jersey he wore 20 years ago in leadingWabash College to the 1982 Division Ill national championship.

But ask Metzelaars what his most memorable moment was in sports, and the 1982 Division III National Championship he won ranks highest. Oh yeah, that was in basketball, not on the gridiron. "He came here to play basketball and football together," long-time Wabash basketball coach Mac Petty said. "He didn't want to go to a larger school. I think he came in to be the person he was and to compete and enjoy. "His idea was to play two sports, go on to law school and go from there." And there's the thing. In four years, it's amazing how your body can change. When he was a senior at Portage (Michigan) Central High School, Metzelaars was a 6-5, 190-pound quarterback. By the time he was a senior at Wabash, Metzelaars was a massive 6-7, 250 pounds-a great size for a tight end at any level-and a monster of a center for a Division III basketball team. Nearly 20 years after Wabash stunned everyone and won the Division III National Championship, Metzelaars fondly recalls that year. The Little Giants had lost six starters over

the previous two years and not much was expected of the team. Sure, Wabash was a successful program-they had gone 20-6 and 19-6 the previous two seasons-but when you lose six key players over a two-year span, it's hard for any team to recover. Petty, however, knew he had something special in Metzelaars. "He gave the other guys a sense of ease," Petty said. "They played within themselves. They felt comfortable to play. He gave the team a sense of confidence. I've had a couple of other guys like that, but he does stand out. "I told my wife before the year that I wasn't sure what to expect, but once football was over, he came out with that confidence." It was the confidence Metzelaars always had, and it carried over to basketball his senior year. He knew the Little Giants were solid at shooting guard, with his good friend Mike Holcomb manning the spot. And he knew his other teammates, guys like point guard Teddy Parker, small forward Merlin Nice and power forward Kerry Seward were decent players, but no one knew how any of them would do as a team.

Made with FlippingBook HTML5