Milwaukee HC Lundy talks UWM hoops, plays H.O.R.S.E

MILWAUKEE – Just minutes after becoming Milwaukee’s head men’s basketball coach, Bart Lundy established a foundation for the Panthers’ men’s basketball program.

“We have an overarching philosophy,” Lundy said to me as we played a game of HORSE

“We will make things right. We will work as hard as we can work. We lay our heads on the pillow that night knowing we did our best that day. We’ll wake up the next day and we’ll do it all over again. And then we stack good days on top of each other.”

Lundy’s philosophy comes to Milwaukee after being honed at Queens University, a second division school in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Lundy was the head coach from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2013 to 2022 and has an overall record of (337-102) set up.

“We were trying to find people who could live that,” Lundy said of his recruiting efforts in rebuilding the Panthers program. “We’ve searched the country.”

From Atlanta to Phoenix, New York to New Mexico, the Panthers roster is an eclectic mix of seventeen players, most of whom played basketball elsewhere last season.

“We have a great university. We are about to open a phenomenal practice facility. We’re playing in a legendary downtown arena. So there are a lot of good things for sale.”

The team’s game has ignited a fan base longing for a return to the NCAA tournament.

“I really wasn’t thinking in those terms,” ​​Lundy said when I asked him if his goal was to hit the Big Dance in his freshman year.

“I thought let’s put out a product here that will please these fans, it’s fun to see. Let’s recruit people who are engaging and fun… energize the fan base because it was kind of dead.”

Fans buy into the direction of the program, and players buy into each other.

“We went to Purdue and Iowa State and then we lost here [Milwaukee] to St. Thomas. I realized these guys really hate losing…which is maybe the best quality to look for as a coach.”

Proof of the Panthers’ never-ending attitude was shown at a recent away game in Northern Kentucky, where the Panthers trailed 20 at the first media timeout of the second half.

“You’re 20 down. It is what it is. You can pack up your tents, fold them up and we’re done, or you can go play.”

Northern Kentucky was the preseason favorite to win the Horizon League.

The Panthers, who would finish ninth in the conference, were aiming for a 75-74 win.

“A referee was next to me before we started the second half and I was like, ‘Hey man, you know we’re going to win this game, right? We’re coming back to win this game’ and he looked at me like I was crazy.”

Was it an electrifying moment?

“I did the grin in the dressing room after the game and that proves it because nobody wants to see it and I’m not very good at it. I think it could be something that will push this team to the end.”

The Panthers have already eclipsed their winning tally from last season and are projected to represent the Horizon League in the NCAA tournament. Lundy’s Panthers are no strangers to high level competition.

“We played against some big boys. We know what it looks like. But when you come to this NCAA tournament, the big boys never play a Milwaukee that isn’t on their home ground.

Big dance or not, Lundy quickly flipped the script for a program that fell far short of expectations in 2021-22 and smashes expectations in 2022-23.

“We’re trying to make Milwaukee, the university and the city proud.”


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