Wednesday was an exciting day for College of the Ozarks, as the Lady Bobcats women’s basketball program was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame at the Hall's annual basketball luncheon.
The Lady Bobcats’ basketball program began in 1979, led by Head Coach Dr. Marilyn Graves. In the following years, the program continued to grow and improve, averaging 20 wins per year between 1987-1997. In the fall of 1997, George Wilson took the reins as head coach and proceeded to lead the team to new heights, averaging 27.9 wins per season against 5.6 losses during his 16-year tenure. When Wilson retired, Becky Vest Mullis, Wilson’s former assistant was named as head coach, and she has continued the program’s success over the past five seasons, compiling a win-loss ratio of 27.6 to 6.2.
Over the years, the Lady Bobcat basketball program has made 24 NAIA DII National Tournament appearances, which featured five National Championship Runner-Up finishes and nine Elite Eight finishes. The program has produced seven First Team NAIA All-Americans and 30 NAIA All-American athletes.
The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame honor recognizes the tremendous amount of time, energy, and intense dedication invested by the athletes and coaches, as well as the provision of resources and support by the College’s administration.
Close to 50 former players, coaches, and managers attended the event, representing many different years of the program’s existence and featuring several record holders and retired jersey owners.
“The success of our program goes back to the players we have recruited over the years,” stated Coach Mullis. “It takes the right kind of person to represent College of the Ozarks and what our institution stands for. Our ladies must be tough in order to be successful at C of O. That toughness transfers onto the basketball court and is the main reason for the tradition of excellence our program has demonstrated over the years.”
Coach Wilson, who was also in attendance, commented, “This honor goes to the players who have come over the years. They were the ones who made it happen. This honor is not a gift—it was earned. Many people play the game, but not too many earn the honor of being inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
It was a great day for family, friends, and long-time teammates to enjoy the many successes of Lady Bobcat basketball.
Congratulations to all!