ASU consistently leads the Sun Belt Conference in attendance.
For six consecutive seasons, fans of Arkansas State University basketball proved the best in two different leagues at supporting their team.
The Indians' first two years in the Sun Belt Conference resulted in gate averages of 5,977 and 6,384.
The four previous years, when ASU was in the now-defunct American South Conference, the Indians led with average crowds of 6,270 (1990-91), 5,724 (1989-90), 6,643 (1988-89) and 6,092 (1987-88).
In 1998-99, ASU led the Sun Belt Conference in home attendance with 6,616.
The University's 19th-year multi-purpose arena, located south of the Indian Stadium complex, is the home of ASU basketball, and it houses most offices of the athletic department.
The 10,038-seat facility is the largest multi-purpose arena in the state. It was built over a three-year period (completed in 1987) for $19 million, with 80 percent of the funding ($15.3 million) provided by the state.
The playing court is rectangular (94 feet long by 50 feet wide).
The lane is 12 feet wide, and the free throw line is 15 feet from the basket.
The backboard is rectangular (six feet long by four feet wide). The goal is 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet above the playing surface. The net must be white and 15 to 18 inches in length, suspended beneath the goal.
The center jump circle has a radius of six feet, and the three-point line is 19 feet, 9 inches from the center of the basket.
The ball for men’s games has a circumference of 29.5 to 30 inches and has an inflated weight of 20 to 22 ounces. The women’s ball has a circumference of 28.5 to 29 inches and has an inflated weight of 18 to 20 ounces.
Named in honor of former ASU footballer and 1985 Hall of Honor inductee Terry Gwin, this is the highest award that an A-State athlete can receive. It recognizes scholarship, citizenship, character and leadership.
It is presented each spring to a male and a female athlete, based on selection by a special committee of faculty-staff-alumni on nominations submitted by coaches.
Recipients include Caitlyn Mitchell (volleyball) and Jason Wood (football) in 2005, Brad Hayes (baseball) and Brooke Shelby (women’s basketball) in 2004, Gustavo Rehder (track and field) and Casie Lowman (women’s basketball) in 2003; Kolin Weaver (men’s basketball) and Shellie Wenzel (women’s golf) in 2002; Segun Ajigbeda (football) and Latrice Taylor (women’s basketball) in 2001; Ron Teat (football) and Nicole Brown (track and field) in 2000; Aaron Raney (track and field) and Rebecca Sarjeant (women’s golf) in 1999; Micah Marsh (men's basketball) and Amy Towne (women's basketball), in 1997; Jeff Caldwell (football) and Lauren Fair (volleyball), in 1996; Cody Allison (baseball) and Wanda deVilliers (tennis) in 1995; David Bass (basketball) and Ashley Eskridge (basketball) in 1995; Blake Denison (football) and Larisa Larson (track) in 1994; Darrin Travers (baseball) and Jo Beth Mathis (volleyball) in 1993; Steve Brock (baseball) and Holly Davis (basketball) in 1992; John Chism (football) and Shelly Kirby (volleyball) in 1991; Mike Ray (football) and Monika Klebe (track-cross country) and Darlene Dunn (volleyball) in 1990; Brian Wiedower (baseball) and Eva Brehe (basketball-track) in 1989; Jim Wiseman (football) and Vanessa Roberts (tennis) in 1988; Mark Robbins (football) and Andrea Crane (volleyball-softball), 1987; Mark McMinn (football) and Michelle Horton (basketball), 1986; Rick Barney (basketball), no females nominated, 1985; and Tim Langford (football) and Linda Allison (basketball), 1984.
Home Sweet Home
ASU enters the season with a 176-65 record in the Convocation Center.
This is a tradition whereby ASU fans attending home games stand for the opening tipoff—at the request of the public address announcer.
It began during the early 1980’s at old Indian Fieldhouse.
John Rauth Memorial Award
A special award in memory of former Arkansas State University head basketball coach John Rauth designed to honor a member of ASU’s basketball team each year has been established at the University.
ASU head coach Dickey Nutt said the John Rauth Memorial Award will honor a member of the team each year “who exemplifies the best work ethic both academically and athletically.”
The selection will be determined at the end of the season by other members of the team and the coaching staff. The award winner and presentation of the trophy will be at the annual Assist Club banquet.
The late J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson, a former coach and athletic director at ASU, said he had been thinking about a way to honor Rauth, who passed away last spring, and the Indian basketball program. He visited with Brown of Brown’s Graduation Supply and Awards, and Brown has donated a large trophy which will feature the engraved name each year of the honored player.
“Coach Rauth and his wife, Dorothy, contributed a great deal to the University and to the men’s basketball program,” said Tomlinson. “He had a great love for Arkansas State and certainly for the sport of basketball. I think he would be very proud to be associated with an award like this.”
Rauth, the winningest basketball coach in school history, coached for 14 seasons from 1949-63 and accumulated an overall record of 191-150 (.560 winning percentage).
A-State has won four ESPN appearances, defeating Western Kentucky in the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in 1998-99 in Lafayette, La., South Alabama (at Jonesboro) in 1997-98, Murray State (at Jonesboro) in 1991-92 and Louisiana Tech (at Ruston, La.) in 1979-80. The Indians defeated South Alabama on ESPN2 in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in 1995.
In another nationally televised cable appearance, ASU defeated Texas-Arlington in 1982-83 on CBN.
For the first time since ASU attained Division I status, Arkansas State’s basketball team represented the state in the NCAA Tournament during the 1998-99 season.
The Indians took an 18-11 mark and Sun Belt Conference championship to New Orleans for the first round regional and faced sixth-ranked Utah. The Tribe held its own until Utah’s size and depth took over in the second half. ASU ended up losing the battle, 80-58. Two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Chico Fletcher had 21 points.
ASU played in the NCAA Tournament as a Division II participant in 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1966, and 1967.
A-State has been a participant in the National Invitation Tournament four times—1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991.
The Tribe has a 4-4 record in that NIT action, with wins over Northeast Louisiana, Stanford, Rice and Memphis State and losses to Arkansas, Colorado State, Nebraska and Colorado.
The only home games among those eight were against Northeast Louisiana and Rice.
The Indians also participated at the start of the 1988-89 season in the Dodge Big Apple NIT, losing at Georgia.
‘Sports Story of the Decade’
That’s what the media of Arkansas called the 1987 Arkansas-Arkansas State basketball game for the Decade of the 1980's. The game, won by the Razorbacks (67-64 in overtime), was played March 13 in Fayetteville as a first-round match in the NIT (National Invitation Tournament).
It was the first basketball meeting between the two schools in 39 years
Sun Belt Tournament
The Sun Belt Conference's annual postseason men's basketball tournament has been scheduled for March 3-7 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. All member schools will participate in the single-elimination event hosted by Middle Tennessee State Univeristy. The winner will represent the league in the NCAA Tournament.
The Indians have strung together four 20-victory campaigns—the only ones in ASU basketball history. The records: 20-9 in 1997-98, 23-9 in 1990-91, 20-10 in 1988-89, 21-14 in 1987-88 and 21-13 in 1986-87.
The official basketball pep band, known as the War Party, had a name change during the 1995-96 season to the Fast Break Band. It has been a part of the Indians’ basketball entertainment for several years. Dr. Ken Carroll is the director.