On Saturday, November 19th, two new inductees were added to the College of the Ozarks Sports Hall of Fame—Michael Bonaparte and the 2006 National Championship men’s basketball team.
Michael Bonaparte was a 3-year men's basketball letter winner at College of the Ozarks from 2004-2007 after transferring from Northern Oklahoma College. He was named National Tournament Most Valuable Player, as he led the 2006 team to the NAIA National Championship. He was named NAIA First Team All-American in 2006 and 2007. Michael was also named Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007. Michael scored 1,962 career points. When he graduated, Michael’s single season scoring average of 23.5 and his 19.8 career scoring average were both school records. He also set the single season record of 192 free throws made. Michael finished his career with 731 field goals, 446 free throws, 827 rebounds, 96 blocked shots and 146 steals. In Michael’s 3 years, the Bobcats’ record was 73-26, including the 2006 Conference Championship and 2005 and 2006 Conference Tournament Championships. Shortly following the close of his collegiate career, Michael’s number (10) was retired and is on display in the Keeter Gymnasium.
The 2006 Bobcat basketball team won the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship in 2006, delivering to College of the Ozarks their first-ever National Championship. The Bobcats’ path to the championship included wins over Dominican University 69-60, William Jewell College 77-76, Mayville State University 80-61, Lindenwood University 88-69, and Huntington University 74-56. The 2006 Bobcats were Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season champions with a 13-1 record. They also claimed the MCAC Tournament Championship, defeating Newman University 74-60 and York College 74-73. The Bobcats finished the season with a record of 29-6. Team members included: Michael Bonaparte, Andrew Boyce, Craig Campbell, Jesse Crum, Stephen Friar, Josh Graves, Tony Irons, Arthur Kennedy, Grant Myrick, Chris Pullen, Drew Ray, Heath Sitton, Jordan Stander, and Corey Stone. Their head coach was Steve Shepherd, assisted by Bob Crawford and Ryan Worley.
It was an exciting day filled with memories and laughter, as all of the team members were present for the induction ceremony held at a brunch on the College’s campus. The inductees were recognized again that evening at halftime of the men’s basketball game.
Congratulations go out to Michael and all members of the 2006 National Championship team!